Building Faculty Communities of Practice in the Online Modality: Preparation, Development, & Lessons Learned

Session Description
At least one quarter, or approximately 5.8 million, of all higher education students in the United States take at least one distance education course (Online Learning Consortium, 2016; U.S. Department of Education, 2016). To meet this demand, many colleges and universities have increased their reliance on remote faculty to teach online. Entering the online space for the first time or as part of a large program, can be alienating and frightening (Ubell, 2016). In addition, maintenance of motivation that lends to optimal performance (Ganta, 2014) can be more challenging when employees (e.g. faculty) are working remote (BlessingWhite Research, 2011). There are important considerations for managers to attend to when motivating remote faculty to effectively support student success and learning. Research suggests that these include: trust-building, and a sense of connection/belonging (BlessingWhite Research, 2011; Greeny & Maxfield, 2017), effective communications (Sundin, 2017); meaningful training (Tella, Ayena, Popoola, 2007), electronically supported communications/feedback (Beyers,1995) and frequent appreciation/recognition (Byam, 2008). This session presents the experiences of building an online faculty community of practice that includes these components. We discuss key factors in both preparation and delivery, as well as lessons learned. Further, the techniques presented can be adapted and/or modified for future use.
Michelle Rosser-Majors
Michelle Rosser-Majors, Ashford University, San Diego, CA, USA
Dr. Michelle L. Rosser-Majors is an Associate Professor in the College of Health, Human Services, and Science at Ashford University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, from the University of Oklahoma in 2010. Dr. Rosser-Majors’ passion for learning is founded on encouraging her students to be self-regulated, determined, and committed.
Dr. Rosser-Majors is also an author. Her books include Theories of Learning: A Exploration (2017), Becoming an Integrated Educational Leader (2014), and Jacob’s New School (2014).
Joseph Belcher
Joseph Belcher, Ashford University , San Diego, CA, USA
Dr. Trevor Belcher is an Associate Dean in Ashford University’s College of Health, Human Services, and Science. Over the past two decades, his educational and practical experience have allowed him the opportunity to serve in various capacities such as pastoral ministry, counseling, consulting, teaching, and administration. Previously he was a faculty member and an Associate Dean at Kaplan University and held administrative positions at Patten University and at New Charter University. He has a PhD and MS in Psychology from Capella University and a BS with a double major in Ministry and Theology from Mid-America Christian University. Dr. Belcher’s current academic interests include education, leadership, and wellness.
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