Room for Improvement: Women in Online Leadership Roles

Women in higher education have made tremendous strides; no longer does a woman have to assume that she will be the only female in a department or in a leadership position, as may have been true just a few decades ago. But that doesn’t mean there is not still work to be done. In a presentation and panel discussion held at the Online Learning Consortium International Conference, Elizabeth Ciabocchi, vice provost for digital learning at St. John’s University; Shanta Goswami Varma, director of the office of online programs at the University of Houston-Clear Lake; and Renee Cicchino, senior instructional designer at Seton Hall University, discussed women in leadership positions in online learning and what still needs to be done to help these women and their institutions reach their full potential.

Administrator's Advocate: How Financial Incentives Can Jump-start Instructor Training

One barrier for many faculty who want to develop and teach online courses is a feeling that they don’t have the knowledge, skills and abilities to effectively adapt their face-to-face course for an online format or to develop a new online course from scratch. They often report feeling overwhelmed and not knowing how to get started. To help counter this barrier, a majority of institutions now offer online instructor training courses, or similar professional development opportunities, to better equip and prepare faculty to teach online. Two years ago, we started offering faculty $500 if they successfully completed our training program. Although not a huge incentive, it helped keep them motivated while they worked on revising student learning objectives, developing their online course syllabus, and interacting with other faculty in discussion forums. The completion rates increased to between 70 and 80 percent, with 20 out of 21 faculty completing the training the last time it was offered.

Resources

Learning Online: What Research Tells Us About Whether, When and How (First edition) By Barbara Means, Marianne Bakia & Robert Murphy

In the News

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Monthly Metric

Has your distance education program done newspaper advertising in the past year?