OFFICE OF ONLINE LEARNING SERVICES (OOLS)
SUS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE
The Southern University System (SUS) Professional Development Institute (-PDI) is funded through grants from the Southern University System Foundation, the SUS Alumni Federation Entertainment & Education Chapter, and a California State University (CSU)/William and Flora Hewlett Foundation subcontract. The SUS-PDI constitutes one of the Southern University System Office of Online Learning Services (SUS-OOLS) Goals 2018/2019 to design and deliver expert online professional development certifications that can lead to the development of online course inventories, building blocks for quality online programs. The five hybrid workshops that make up the SUS-PDI include competencies aligned with National Online Instructor Skill Set. Instructors who take the series are provided with the background knowledge needed for designing quality online courses and teaching online. The PDI will provide both current and potential online instructors with the experience of learning online from the student’s perspective, delivering effective online instruction and assessing Online Students Learning Outcomes (OSLO).
The PDI targets specifically faculty affiliated with the SUS college campuses. It intends to support SU colleges and units as they strive to take ownership of their online program offerings. This initiative is in alignment with the mission of SUS-OOLS to build a culture of quality assurance throughout the System and to engage its council of eLearning practitioners (see suscolp.org) in building a 21st Century Online Learning Environment for the Jaguar Nation.
Instructors will receive Digital Credentials, as a form of badges, upon successful completion of each workshop that is tied to evidence that supports their mastery of each teaching competency. After completing all five Digital Credentials, faculty earns the SUS-PDI Certificate.
Based on current research on Learning Design and best practices for the delivery of Online instruction, there are many factors that affect the quality of an online course and its optimal delivery to enhance OSLO (Online Student Learning Outcomes) (Warren and Diack, 2013), Among these factors one can discuss the following key elements displayed on the Quality Pie below:
1. the course design (the forethought and planning that goes into an online course),
2. the course delivery (the way the course is taught, also known as faculty performance),
3. the course content,
4. the learning management system and its functionality; technical support,
5. the institutional infrastructure (help desk, online library access, online tutoring access, etc.),
6. a faculty member’s training and readiness for online teaching,
7. and the learner’s role with respect to engagement and readiness for an online course.
The SUS-PDI will particularly focus on learning design and the pedagogy for delivering an online course. It is clear however that for an eLearning system to be optimal, an understanding and proficiency in using the Learning Management System (LMS) used to deliver the online course, Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment (Moodle) in the case of the SUS, is essential. Moodle is a learning platform designed to provide educators, administrators and learners with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalized learning environments. Furthermore, the institutional infrastructure (the availability of online student services or a 24/7 help desk, testing center, online proctoring capabilities); or learner readiness (student comfort in using the LMS and its functionality as well as the provision of course orientation).
ABOUT THE PDI:
The SUS-PDI is composed of a sequence of 5 training workshops delivered as one full day face-to-face certification workshop (Quality Matters Certification) and four hybrid workshops. Hybrid workshops are delivered with a face-to-face component, generally ½-day, supplemented with self-paced online courses delivered using Moodle. Faculty earn badges as they complete training workshops and are certified when they complete the sequence of five hybrid training workshops. Certificate issued through the SUS-PDI can be used for tenure and promotion. Certified faculty will be recognized and highlighted on the OOLS manned web portals, including the Southern University Open Library for Education (SUOL4ED: http://www.suol4ed.org/) and the Southern University System Council of Online Learning Practitioners (SUS COLP: http://suscolp.org/)
The tables below describe the PDI workshop sequence with a brief description and objectives.
Acknowledgement and Funding
The SUS-PDI is proposed and implemented through the Office of the Assistant Vice President (A.V.P.) for Online Learning Services (OOLS) of the SUS, with the leadership of Prof. Moustapha Diack, A.V.P. of OOLS. Professor Diack serves as well as Director for Online Learning and Faculty Development for the Southern University Baton Rouge (SUBR) Campus. He is affiliated with the Doctoral Program in Science/Math Education at SUBR with a research focus on learning design and virtual learning environments. He is co-founder of the MERLOT Africa Network, a network of 60 higher education institutions distributed in 35 African countries. Diack is also co-founder and Chair of the HBCUs Summit on Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) and Quality Online Programs. The Summit targets 104 HBCUs and African Higher Education partners. The HBCUs Summit is an integral part of the INNOVATE international conference co-hosted by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and the MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching) organization. SUS is the first HBCU to have launched affordable learning solution (AL$) – Institutional strategy to provide students no cost and low cost instructional materials that enable their successful learning and course completion.
Project: Online Faculty Professional Development: Engaging the SUS Faculty in Developing High-Quality Online Courses and Programs
Project: Engaging HBCUs in the adoption of Affordable Learning Solution for College Access and Affordability
Project: Supporting the System in Building 21st Century Learning Environment for Online education