NC State Faculty Members Take Initiative to Complete Course
Course Quality Program Provides Opportunities for Growth
Two NC State faculty members, who are motivated to continuously improve their teaching methods through professional development, recently completed a workshop through Quality Matters (QM).
Associate Teaching Professor Carlos Goller, with the Department of Biological Sciences, and Assistant Teaching Professor Remi Ham, with the Department of Horticultural Science, finished a three-week Designing Quality Online Learning Research course with QM.
QM promotes and improves the quality of online education and student learning through the use of a quality assurance system as well as professional development. Their professional development includes workshops for course improvement and the QM Rubrics, QM certifications for reviewers and workshops that are focused on teaching online.
This workshop provided Goller and Ham the opportunity to learn how to conduct online learning research. Using QM and the QM Research Library as a point of reference, the workshop covered the steps necessary for developing a quality research study related to online learning. Ham and Goller came up with a general idea/topic that they wanted to research, and then throughout the course of the workshop, they refined that idea into a quality research proposal.
Why this Workshop?
Goller signed up for the workshop to learn how to design studies to evaluate the impact of course changes NC State implements based on QM and DELTA Course Improvement Grants.
“We have started implementing specific review standards into online and in-person Biotechnology and Honors courses,” Goller said. “And I’m intrigued by student perceptions of course organization, transparency of guidelines, and communication policies and how changes support their planning. This workshop helped me refine a research question and think about frameworks I had not considered!”
Ham looked to the workshop to identify what works well in her online classes, refine research questions supported by literature, and define measurable variables and outcomes.
“At times, online teaching or learning experiences have had a poor reputation — from both students and instructors,” Ham said. “But it doesn’t have to be that way. So many components work well in my course, but I desired to dig deeper and support these teaching methods through research. I love teaching my online courses and have witnessed the overwhelming benefits of applying Quality Matters standards. Even in an online setting, students are engaged through use of clear course objectives and aligned assignments.”
How is the Workshop Helpful?
Both Ham and Goller anticipate using the information they gained from the workshop in their research and courses going forward.
“I hope to use the QM Research Library database and several of the frameworks to plan a study to evaluate the impact of changes we have made to a 200-level blended course,” Goller said.
According to Ham, the course helped her to define variables, outline a plan for measurement, identify controls and account for confounding variables. “Being a short course, this opportunity pushed me (in a good way) to define my methodology, make a plan, and identify immediate next steps forward,” Ham said.
Do They Recommend?
Overall, the workshop was a worthwhile experience that Goller and Ham highly recommend.
“The workshop was fast-paced and included numerous resources to consider when designing studies to learn about the impact of QM on student learning gains and satisfaction,” Goller said. “I loved attending the workshop with my NC State colleague, Remi Ham, and also meeting instructors and designers from other institutions. The facilitators were fantastic and the assignments will directly help prepare for an NC State Institutional Review Board submission as well as the design of future studies.”
Ham concurred with Goller’s overall assessment.
“The QM workshop was a great experience. While I have much more work to do related to my research, I suggest this course for any colleagues interested in this realm of study,” Ham said. “Before taking this course, I didn’t know where to start. Students enjoy and are engaged in my online classes, but why? After taking this course, I am more equipped to design research questions related to online learning and develop a methodology to complete this research. I hope my research can help others improve their online courses but also improve perceptions of the online learning experience.”
The Course Quality Program at NC State offers QM-based professional development opportunities free of charge to NC State faculty to help them improve the quality of their online or blended course and achieve QM recognition or certification. If you are interested in a professional development experience, check out the Course Quality Program at NC State for more information!