Enrich Your Online Teaching with an Online Teaching Certification from The Sloan Consortium
By Aida Diaz, a 2013-14 Distinguished Professor Endowed Chair, Howard L. Palmer Chair in Foreign Languages
I had never heard of The Sloan Consortium or its conferences until a few years ago when I completed my Digital Professor Certification with Valencia. At that time, I was working closely with Migdalia Otero-Olan, manager of faculty and institutional development, to prepare my online course using the Quality Matters rubric. She and others in the Faculty Development Department shared information about sessions they had attended and other learning opportunities related to blended learning. After I attended the Sloan-C Conference in 2011, it became clear to me that online teaching and learning was an area I wanted to learn more about and improve my practice.
I already enjoyed teaching online and was ecstatic to find an organization dedicated to “the growth, expansion and integration of online learning into the mainstream of higher education.” In the spring of 2012, I attended Sloan’s Blended Learning Conference and learned about the online teaching certificate. The Sloan-C Online Teaching Certificate prepares educators to teach and improve their online courses using the Sloan-C pillars of quality in online education — learning effectiveness, scale, faculty and student satisfaction and access.
This fall I was awarded the Howard Palmer Endowed Chair in Foreign Languages. The goal is to complete the Foundation Course and the Blended Mastery Series with application to foreign language. This information will be shared with my colleagues with the goal of increasing the number of sections in blended and online classes.
The first step toward obtaining the Sloan-C Online Teaching Certificate is completing the Foundation Course. The Foundation Course is nine weeks of intense collaboration with mentors and other colleagues on topics such as:
- Planning the course
- Understanding role adjustment
- Organizing the course
- Incorporating the advantages of online communications
- Applying the pedagogical principles that create purposeful learning communities
The second step is completing one of the following: Blended Learning Mastery Series, the Mobile Learning Mastery Series or the Online Nursing Mastery Series. The final step is creating an online portfolio that is reviewed by your mentor.
It has been a rewarding experience, and there is so much to learn with this format of teaching. During the course of the nine weeks, I realized I was like “Swiss cheese,” with a few gaps of knowledge here and there —a work in progress. With the support and encouragement from my mentor/facilitator, I have successfully completed the Foundation Course. I highly recommend this course and conference to anyone who is interested in improving their approach to online teaching or is interested in getting started teaching online. It is challenging, but rewarding.