WSU launches certificate program for online teaching skills

Workshops aims to help faculty learn best practices in online environment, assess how students are learning

BRADLEY GAMBLE, Evergreen reporter

The WSU Provost’s Office and WSU Academic Outreach and Innovation have launched a new distance delivery mastery certificate to improve the faculty’s ability to teach online.

The certificate provides an opportunity for instructors to learn how to successfully adapt their teaching style to an online environment, according to the Learning Innovations website

Rebecca Van de Vord, AOI vice president and director of Learning Innovations, said she hopes the certificate will support faculty and push them to move into the distance environment. However, it is not a requirement for faculty.

“What we wanted to do is provide a way for faculty to be able to document the work they have put into delivering a high-quality course,” she said. “We wanted to provide an incentive for faculty to move in that direction.”

Faculty members can qualify for the certificate by attending three or more of AOI’s Teaching from a Distance workshops, according to the website. They must also complete a self assessment after meeting the qualifications.

The workshops have three objectives, according to the website. The first is to learn the best practices and strategies in an online environment. The second highlights community-building and connection among faculty and students. The third focuses on assessing how students are learning.

AOI Instructional Designer Christie Kittle said the workshops on assessing students emphasize improving learning quality rather than taking an exam at the end of the class.

“What we’re saying is ‘how are you getting the feedback to your students consistently, so they are improving their learning?’” she said. “It’s about using an assessment for improving learning, not just saying at the end you learned it or you didn’t.”

Workshops are currently available until Aug. 15, according to the website. More workshops will be offered to faculty in the fall.

Van De Vord said the fall workshops will also cover distance learning and Canvas to prepare faculty for the following spring semester. New objectives and workshops will be added to the certificate as more advancements occur in the education field.

“We’re going to start providing Canvas workshops and continue to offer our  Teaching from a Distance workshops for faculty preparing their spring courses,” she said. “If a miracle happens and it looks like life’s gonna be back to normal in the spring, then we may look at different kinds of workshops.”

Van de Vord said the workshops that faculty attended during spring break to prepare for the online transition will count towards the certificate.

Faculty can register for the workshops on the workshop schedule website.