UT News » Online Learning

UT News

Categories

Search News

Archives

Resources

Online Learning

UT distance learning instructor recognized by Quality Matters

The University of Toledo continues to earn accolades for its online courses.

Jessica Kruger, a UT doctoral student in health education, teaches three classes that have been recognized by Quality Matters, a peer review process that certifies the design of online and blended courses.

Kruger

Kruger

The courses recently recognized are:

• HEAL 1310: Nutrition for Fitness and Health, which is for all majors and teaches foundational knowledge of nutrition.

• HEAL 1360: Alcohol and Contemporary Issues in College, which focuses on the effects alcohol can have on college students.

• HEAL 3300: Drug Awareness, which teaches everything about drugs, legal and illegal, good and bad.

“It is important to make sure courses are meeting a standard, include more rigorous work, and focus on the student,” Kruger said.

“We work hard with our health education doctoral students to help develop their teaching skills, but Jessica has gone above and beyond to maximize her teaching effectiveness in the online learning environment,” Dr. Joseph A. Dake, professor and chair of the School of Population Health, said. “We are proud to have her as one of our majors.”

Kruger said programs like Quality Matters are important because instructors can take what the QM peer review team suggests and improve the course being taught.

“I encourage students to try online courses and to pay close attention to whether or not a course is Quality Matters-approved,” Kruger said. “Having Quality Matters approval shows that the class has been reviewed for its design and that it is put together in a way that is conducive for student learning and is easy to navigate.”

Kruger believes distance learning is important because it is a great way to provide students with more flexibility; however, it requires strong self-discipline.

“Just because a course is online does not mean it is easy or takes less time,” Kruger said. “Online courses require students to be self-motivated to work on projects and learn the materials on a schedule.”

Faculty who would like to learn more about Quality Matters or the course review process are encouraged to contact Phoebe Ballard, director of instructional design and development, at phoebe.ballard@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4379.

New tool in Blackboard allows faculty to bring library resources to online students

Faculty can now bring the library into the Blackboard classroom with a new tool, the UTMOST Curriculum Builder, creating an innovative and convenient way for students to access online library resources.

UTMOST Curriculum Builder is available now from the Tools menu option in Blackboard.

UT Online logoWhen added to a course, UTMOST Curriculum Builder provides an in-course search box for library resources. Search by keyword, author or title. Items from the search can be added to the course and are visible to students as a reading list.

Faculty can create annotated reading lists for assignments with instructions and PDF links. Students can click through to full text.

For step-by-step information on how to add UTMOST Curriculum Builder to a Blackboard course, faculty can click here.

Questions about the UTMOST Curriculum Builder can be directed to Elaine Reeves, associate lecturer and online learning librarian at Carlson Library, at elaine.reeves@utoledo.edu or 419.530.2868.

Faculty certified through Pathway to Master Online Instructor Program

Three University of Toledo faculty members recently received special certification to teach their students online.

By completing the Pathway to Master Online Instructor Program, launched in August by UT Online, Dr. Claire Stuve of UT Online, Dr. Ruthie Kucharewski from the College of Health Sciences, and Dr. Daniel French from the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences are licensed to provide quality online education for students in the University’s fully online programs. Barbara Mauter of the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning completed the program as well, in October 2015.

UT online screen shotThese instructors followed the steps laid out by Pathway, including lessons in online teaching, Americans With Disabilities Act compliance, online course design, and the Quality Matters peer review process and rubric, and are certified Master Online Instructors.

“The Pathway Program was designed to help faculty develop the knowledge and skills needed to design quality online courses and deliver effective online instruction with technology,” Phoebe Ballard, director of instructional design and development, said.

“I decided to take the Pathway courses because I wanted to broaden my understanding of instructional design in the humanities and provide the best online experience possible for UT students,” French said. “The online learning component of higher education is the future, whether it be in a face-to-face, blended, or all-online environment.”

In the course design portion of the program, instructors are introduced to the Backward Design method. The Backward Design framework begins with the identification of the desired results, with an emphasis on student learning, according to Ballard.

“They’re able to design effective online courses by applying the concepts of Backward Design and alignment,” Ballard said. “First, they develop measurable learning objectives. Next, they determine the acceptable evidence in the form of authentic assessment. Finally, they develop engaging instructional materials and active learning activities, all in support of those measurable goals.”

“As a professor, it’s my nature to want to learn, so I signed up for the courses so I could improve my online teaching abilities and increase my level of understanding course design so that I can challenge and meet the needs of my students,” Kucharewski said.

The ability to take these courses in a largely online format is also a benefit to instructors.

“By participating in these courses as an online student, they have a deep understanding of what it takes to be an effective facilitator of online learning,” Ballard said. “They develop a deep understanding of the unique needs of the online learner and the kind of support online learners need in order to be successful.”

The differences in student needs are further highlighted by the Americans With Disabilities Act course, which looks to close the gaps in education for those with distinctive learning needs.

The now-certified faculty members agree that these courses provide a more comprehensive look at student needs in the online environment.

“I learned a lot and it was definitely a worthwhile experience, because I have now experienced online learning as a professor and a student, and I understand teaching online so much more than ever before,” Kucharewski said.

“We owe our students learning outcomes that make a difference in their lives, and the Pathway Program goes far to accomplish this goal,” French said. “UT Online is an incredible asset that everyone should take advantage of.”

If faculty would like to learn more about the Pathway Program, they are encouraged to contact Ballard at phoebe.ballard@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4379.

New University College to serve adult and undecided students

The new University College will serve adult students pursuing individualized degrees and first-year students exploring the variety of majors The University of Toledo has to offer.

The creation of University College, which was approved April 18 by the UT Board of Trustees, is a merger of the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning and YouCollege with UT Online.

Kopp Miller

Kopp Miller

“Serving students is the mission of all colleges at The University of Toledo and by organizing University College in this way, we will enhance how we can serve adult learners and students who are undecided about their areas of study,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said.

Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, associate provost for online education and director of the Center for Successful Aging, will serve as dean of University College, which will be in place July 1.

“University College provides access and support to students to ensure they are successful in meeting their goal of a college degree,” Kopp Miller said. “We will provide a supportive temporary home for students who are still exploring the many majors that we offer at UT, and our goal is to successfully get them into their permanent home. And adult learners balancing work, family and other obligations will find the services they need in University College.”

The about 700 students in the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning and the about 1,700 students in YouCollege will be enrolled in the new University of College.

The College of Adult and Lifelong Learning was created in 2010 as an evolution of a previous University College to focus services for adult students. Through a program called prior learning assessment, UT offers adult learners the ability to earn college credit for life experiences using portfolios, standardized testing and industry certification to determine college credit. The college’s degree programs include individualized studies, professional studies and liberal studies.

Since 2013, YouCollege has served students in the Department of Exploratory Studies who are undecided about their majors or working on requirements to get into the program of their choice.

University College’s academic units will be organized into a Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and Special Programs, and a Department of Exploratory Studies.

Dr. Dennis Lettman, who serves as dean of the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning, is retiring at the end of the academic year after 27 years of service to UT. Julie Fischer-Kinney, who serves as interim dean of YouCollege, will continue in her role as assistant provost for student success and retention leading the University’s success coaching program, which will be organized in a Center for Success Coaching.

The University offers more than 500 online courses through UT Online, which also will be part of University College. UT Online includes the departments of Learning and Academic Technology, Instructional Design and Development, Faculty Services and Help Desk, and Compliance and Assessment.

UT’s military affairs, testing and workforce development services also will be offered through the college.

“University College truly serves the entire University through the services that it provides,” Kopp Miller said.

Kopp Miller joined the Medical College of Ohio in 1991 and has held a number of faculty appointments and administrative roles at UT. With a scholarly expertise in the area of gerontology, she teaches in the Department of Public Health and Preventative Medicine.

She received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology from Bowling Green State University.

UT chosen as one of America’s Outstanding Navy Reserve Employers

The University of Toledo recently was selected as one of America’s Outstanding Navy Reserve Employers for 2016.

More than 100 employers were nominated for this recognition; 50 were chosen, and UT was the only higher education institution selected to receive this designation.

Business Hlogo 1c Black“At The University of Toledo, the men and women who have served or who are actively serving are honored, respected and welcomed,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “These dedicated individuals who are currently serving our country and our University are valued members of our community, and we thank them for their service.”

Navy Reserve Lt. Haraz N. Ghanbari, director of military and veteran affairs, nominated the University for the honor.

Ghanbari is working to create and implement a training program option for University employees that will increase awareness of what veterans have gone through and what they face when they return home. His goal is to improve the experience of veterans transitioning from deployment back into their civilian lives, whether they’re a student or a member of the faculty, staff or administration. The training program is modeled off the Green Zone training program used at colleges across the country. It also will highlight what a great resource student veterans are for the University.

“My call to action would be for the campus community, and our community at large, to take time and be purposeful with engaging veterans,” he said. “Veterans are one of our nation’s greatest resources.”

In 2015, UT was a recipient of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve’s Seven Seals Award, and in 2016 it was ranked No. 157 on the USA Today and College Factual’s Best Colleges for Veterans list.

The University has received recognition as a top military-friendly school from Military Times, Military Advanced Education & Transition, and G.I. Jobs thanks to UT’s military-supportive culture and the numerous resources available on campus and locally in Toledo, such as the Military Service Center on campus and the Lucas County Veterans Service Commission.

UT also hosts various events throughout the year to recognize and assist local veterans. In March, for example, the Veterans’ Business Forum invited veteran business owners and entrepreneurs to campus to network with and hear from local business and government representatives and gain access to business resources.

The community’s annual Veterans Appreciation Breakfast and Resource Fair on Veterans Day takes place at UT, and the Veterans’ Plaza, located on the northwest corner of Centennial Mall on Main Campus, recognizes the courage and commitment made by servicemen and women.

Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, associate provost for online education, will represent UT at the Navy Reserve’s 2016 Navy Employer Recognition Event June 24 in Norfolk, Va.

UT Online to host Ohio Quality Matters Annual Member Meeting May 12

The Ohio Quality Matters Consortium’s Fourth Annual Member Meeting will be hosted by UT Online at The University of Toledo Thursday, May 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The meeting will be held in the Student Union Ingman Room and will kick off with a continental breakfast and welcome by UT President Sharon L. Gaber.

quality matters logoHosting the event on UT’s campus serves as a way for the University to support the Ohio Consortium and Quality Matters’ continued implementation throughout the state, said Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, associate provost for online education.

“We felt that the event would make for a unique and engaging way to showcase the benefits of the Quality Matters program to UT faculty,” she said.

Quality Matters, a faculty-centered, peer review process designed to ensure quality in online and blended courses, was first adopted by the University in 2011. Since then, 12 UT courses have received official Quality Matters recognition, and 16 UT faculty members have become certified to serve as Quality Matters peer reviewers.

Throughout each academic year, UT Online awards professional development grants for experienced online instructors to complete the Peer Reviewer Course and serve on official Quality Matters review teams.

This year’s meeting theme is “QM: The Heart of It All,” and the event will include hands-on sessions and opportunities to network with colleagues and peers from across the state.

Quality Matters-related research opportunities, faculty development initiatives, online accessibility, instructional strategies for learner interaction and engagement, and competency-based education will be topics of discussion at the meeting.

The Annual Member Meeting is free to attend for all Ohio QM Consortium members, including UT faculty.

“Attending the annual member meeting is a great way to connect with faculty and staff from other institutions and gain fresh, innovative ideas for online course design,” said Rachel Barnes, instructional designer and planning committee member. “It’s also an ideal place for those who are not familiar with Quality Matters to learn more about the peer review process, research and professional development opportunities that are available.”

Event registration is open through Monday, May 2, and can be accessed online at https://ohioqm2016.eventbrite.com.

For more information about the event, the course review process, or the professional development grant, contact Phoebe Ballard, director of instructional design and development, at phoebe.ballard@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4379.

UT to host open educational resources conference April 27

Teachers interested in learning about open educational resources and other technology advancements for their classrooms are invited to participate in a free conference at The University of Toledo.

The Open Educational Resources: Active Learning and Technology Conference will be held Wednesday, April 27, from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. in the Radisson Hotel Grand Ballroom on the UT Health Science Campus.

Business Hlogo 1c Black“High school and college teachers will have the opportunity to come together to learn about some of the latest trends in classroom technology and how they can incorporate these into their lessons to engage their students,” said Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, UT associate provost for online education.

Keynote speaker Meredith Jacobs, assistant director for academic programs for American University Washington College of Law, will lead the first discussion at 8:30 a.m. titled “Open Educational Resources: What Are Open Educational Resources, Why Use Them, and How to Use Open Licenses.”

Other topics throughout the day will include embracing technology for personalized teaching, the Evaluating Digital Content for Instructional and Teaching Excellence learning project, the INFOhio digital library resource, tools to engage students, and legislative and regulatory issues.

Register by Monday, April 25, to attend the conference co-hosted by UT Online and the University Teaching Center at tinyurl.com/UTALT2016.

Trustees approve new University College

A new University College that will merge the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning and YouCollege with UT Online was approved Monday by the UT Board of Trustees.

University College, which will be established July 1, will be led by Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, associate provost for online education and director of the Center for Successful Aging.

Business Hlogo 1c Black“University College truly serves the entire University through the services it provides, as well as being a home for students who are still exploring the many majors offered by The University of Toledo,” Kopp Miller said. “Our goal is to provide the services students need to help them be successful.”

The about 700 students in the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning’s individualized studies degree programs and the about 1,700 students in YouCollege’s Department of Exploratory Studies will be enrolled in the new University College.

University College also will oversee the University’s more than 500 online courses, as well as provide UT’s military, testing and workforce development services.

Staff, faculty honored for contributions to UT Online

UT Online recently recognized three employees for their outstanding contributions to The University’s online learning services.

The first award, named for Dr. Ella Fridman, who was one of the first UT faculty members to convert her courses to online versions, was presented to Barbara Mauter, adjunct instructor in the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning.

“[Mauter] should be recognized as an excellent example of what being an online instructor truly means. She is dedicated to quality and student engagement, and continues to be a strong faculty advocate for all of UT Online’s services,” wrote a nominator.

Mauter began teaching at The University of Toledo in 2007 and taught her first online course in 2010. She has written two of her own courses and is in the process of creating a third. Mauter was the first faculty member to complete the Pathway to Master Online Instructor program.

“I enjoy what I do. Maybe that’s it. I enjoy working with the students,” Mauter said when asked what she believes has made her so successful.

The second honor presented was the DiAnne M. Masztak Award, given annually to a UT community member who has supported online learning in a distinguished fashion and gone above and beyond his or her duties to provide exemplary service to students, faculty and the UT community.

This award went to Dr. Ruthie Kucharewski, professor and director of the Recreation Therapy Program in the College of Health Sciences. She was called “an endless advocate for online education and UT Online” by her nominator.

Phoebe Ballard, director of instructional design and development, center, showed off the Mark A. Yeary Award she was presented by Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, associate provost for online education, who held the plaque where Ballard’s name was added, and Dr. Mingli Xiao, senior instructional designer.

Phoebe Ballard, director of instructional design and development, center, showed off the Mark A. Yeary Award she was presented by Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, associate provost for online education, who held the plaque where Ballard’s name was added, and Dr. Mingli Xiao, senior instructional designer.

“I try to improve my skills and educate myself [about online learning] more all the time and connect with other online faculty so that my classes are interactive, interesting, designed well, and have good content,” said Kucharewski, who has worked at the University since 1997.

UT Online’s Mark A. Yeary Award was named in recognition of the man who worked at the University 23 years. During his time at UT, Yeary’s dedication to the distance learning program contributed greatly to the development of the largest distance learning program in Ohio here at UT.

The winner of this award was Phoebe Ballard, director of instructional design and development. Since, 2003, Ballard has worked in UT’s Online learning division, and in her spare time, she teaches at the University, serves on the board of directors for The Independent Collegian, and is an adviser for the Student Media Association.

Nominators called Ballard a “capable, caring and passionate leader” who “exhibited exemplary dedication to her work and for serving members of The University of Toledo community.”

“This award is extremely important to me because it came from my peers. They inspire me and challenge me daily, and I am very proud to be a member of this dedicated group,” Ballard said.

Learning Ventures to offer course on Americans with Disabilities Act compliance

This summer, Learning Ventures at The University of Toledo will begin offering a course for faculty looking to make their online courses more accessible.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act, colleges and universities must ensure equal access to all electronic communication — including online courses.

The ADA Compliance and Online Courses certification course offered by Learning Ventures will make it easier for faculty to provide equal access to all of their students.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act provides a wealth of guidance to institutions of higher education to ensure a satisfying learning environment for students with disabilities,” said David Cutri, director of internal audit and chief compliance officer.

The six-week, self-paced course will cover topics like accessibility law and formatting course content and other documents for accessibility. It will begin Monday, May 18, and goes until Sunday, June 28, and is offered entirely online.

“The course is self-paced and flexible in its execution, which will allow you to learn in your own way and in your own time,” Cutri said. “You will learn that not only is the ADA the law of the land, it also provides a blueprint for maximizing student success — which is good business.”

The course is designed to prepare faculty for addressing accessibility when designing and developing their online courses. The course covers topics that range from discussing accessibility law to identifying course design considerations for inclusivity and learning how to format course content and other documents for accessibility.

For questions regarding the course, contact Peter You, director for instructional design and development, at 419.530.4016 or at peter.you@utoledo.edu.