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

Distance Education Report

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.

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