Faculty training vs. Faculty development

Last year the Distributed Learning office began offering a course to teach faculty how to teach online.  This was the first time this sort of development piece was offered at Fuller.  It required faculty to commit to engaging with the DL office and each other over 4 weeks.  And, it was entirely online.  This was a new experience for almost all faculty participants.  We offered two courses last year with a total of 39 participants.  The third offering of this course kicks off on January 17 and we have 25 faculty signed up to participate.

The purpose of this course is two-fold:

  1. to learn how better to use Moodle as a Learning Management System, and
  2. to learn the androgogical shift required for effective online classes

One thing continues to bother me, however, with all of this… that’s what to call these classes.  It’s easy to call them “training” classes, but that name isn’t an accurate description of what I’m aiming for.  Training implies there is a task to be learned and mastered.  We all know education (teaching and learning) is not a task.  Teaching engaged, interactive, and transformative classes online isn’t something that can be taught in 4 weeks.  It’s something we grow into.  It’s something learned over time with successes and failures.  It’s who we become as we learn more how students engaged content and each other through technology, rather than how we best “teach”.

Because of all this I like the term “development” better.  This term focuses more on the person rather than a task.  Faculty development for online teaching and learning… has a nice ring to it – although not exactly a catch phrase.  I will keep working on articulating this better but I’m moving more and more away from using the word “training”.  My goal is not to simply teach tasks, but to walk along side faculty members and help them explore and discover new ways of engaging students.

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