Phone a Friend: Breaking Down the Online Teacher’s Lifelines

Are you deep in the throes of prepping for an online fall term and a possible full year of online instruction? If the mere thought of distance learning provokes a panic attack or has you looking into early retirement, never fear, there are a number of lifelines you can call on as you immerse yourself into the world of E-Learning. 

Online teaching newbies and seasoned pros alike should first check with your college’s online learning team to see if your college has a Local Peer Online Course Review program, also known as a POCR Team. Local POCR is a network with the California Virtual Campus – Online Education Initiative (CVC-OEI) and other California community colleges designed to help campus courses align with the CVC-OEI rubric. It gives you the opportunity to get your online courses peer reviewed in a safe space. The best thing about this lifeline is you will receive fast and real time feedback on a course you are currently teaching, so you can make changes as you go. 

 If you are a newbie or you just want to up your game and get some professional development units, you can look into @one’s Certificate in Online Teaching & Design. This program has two pathways depending on the level of commitment you are willing to take on: 

Pathway 1:  Take the 12-week Online Teaching & Design (OTD) course. This is the best option if you want a streamlined experience.

Pathway 2: Take the four-week courses (4x4) listed here. This is the best option if you want to spread out your coursework and complete it in shorter chunks. Then you would register for the Online Teaching & Design Capstone (4x4) Course. 

Again, this certificate will set you up to meet the CVC-OEI rubric’s standards while the assignments are designed to help you create content for your actual classes. Think of the certificate as a confidence boost designed to leave you with a fully functional online course that you can use for years to come.  

For those who prefer to work alone, @one also offers self-paced courses in design, accessibility, and self-paced challenges designed to push your skills. All of these courses provide Professional Growth Units and are designed to have each assignment you complete contribute to your course. Think of them as a low-key way of getting comfortable with the online teaching lingo and design principles without the pressure of assignments or instructor feedback. 

If you feel like binging your online learning, you can look into open online courses offered through Canvas. The advantages of these classes are the free cost, low-key assignments, and self-paced nature. However, the drawbacks are you will not get help with your course content and usually won't have the opportunity to get feedback. Think of it as the Netflix of online learning. 

Finally, if you are already an online pro but would like to take your courses to the next level, look into CSU East Bay’s Online Teaching & Learning certificate or the UC San Diego Extension's Teaching Online Certificate. Both programs have you designing in Blackboard with assignments that give you both theoretical knowledge of design principles and assessment methods, along with practical application assignments designed to help you move beyond just being a functional online educator. The audience for this is K-College instructors, so you will have a variety of perspectives. You will need to apply for entrance into both programs, and both will have a significant cost for the entire certification since both are graduate level credits. 

Whichever route you take in preparing for online learning, remember that there is a lifeline for you that can get you the support you need and help you to feel like the pro you are in the classroom.

FACCC blog posts are written independently by FACCC members and encompass their experiences and recommendations.
FACCC neither condemns nor endorses the recommendations herein.
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