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Sep 13, 2012

DePaul University wins national award for excellence in faculty development for online teaching

DePaul Online Teaching Series (DOTS) received the 2012 Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) award, which recognizes institutions that have developed and delivered an outstanding online teaching program for faculty.  DOTS, established in 2008, trains and supports faculty in the development of high-quality online and hybrid courses.

“We are extremely proud that our DOTS program has won this competitive award,” said GianMario Besana, associate vice president for Academic Affairs-Online Learning and Internationalization. “DePaul continues to invest significant resources in this training program and fully supports its mission and goals.”

According to Sloan-C, the ideal recipient is a program that has had a positive impact on faculty and offers large numbers of high-quality online courses while maintaining a high degree of faculty satisfaction.

“This program is an excellent example of inter-institutional collaboration,” Besana said. “It brings together the administrative and logistic services of Academic Affairs, the expertise and talent of our instructional designers of the Faculty Instructional Technology Services (FITS) division, the technical support of our Media Production and Training service, the curriculum planning and scheduling of various associate deans, and the assistance of several online learning directors of most of our 10 schools and colleges that are part of DePaul.”

Sharon Guan, director of FITS, leads DePaul’s DOTS team that builds online readiness among faculty through an immersive and hands-on experience. The program provides opportunities for faculty to interact with peers with a shared commitment to online learning and to develop a sustainable network of online-ready instructors.

“DOTS continues to receive a strong level of institutional support,” Guan said. “We give our faculty wonderful incentives and help them develop a quality online program to ensure faculty and student satisfaction.”

DePaul provides each DOTS participant with a $1,500 stipend and a technology kit that includes a laptop computer, webcam, headset microphone and essential software for online course development. In return, tenure-track faculty must develop and teach at least one online or hybrid course within 18 months of completing DOTS training. Adjunct faculty are required to develop a course but are not required to teach it.

Religious Studies Professor David Gitomer said DOTS has helped him immensely in both teaching online and face-to-face.  Gitomer said online teaching helps make the level of discussion in the online environment much more sophisticated because students are asked to refer to readings and presentations to support their views.

Much of what humanities professors want to accomplish in their courses in terms of helping students encounter complex ideas about culture and intellectual history can work as well or even better in the online environment,” Gitomer said. “My department has been very active in moving into online teaching, but I can easily imagine great courses in other fields in the humanities.”

DOTS by the numbers

The program consists of three phrases:

Training: Faculty commits to 36 hours of online and onsite learning activities offered in quarter-long and three-week intensive formats. Both formats begin with a week of immersive online learning experience followed by six onsite meetings and continued online activities.

Course Development: Faculty receives assistance in planning, building, and revising their online or hybrid course with ongoing support from a designated instructional designer and a team of course developers.

Course Review
: Certified Quality-Matters (QM) reviewers at DePaul use the QM rubric to ensure all courses meet QM standards and follow best practices in online course design.

In the past five years, from spring 2008 through summer 2012, 239 faculty members from 34 departments of eight colleges and programs have attended 13 editions of DOTS. Since its inception, the program has become the driving force for the rapid growth of online courses and programs at DePaul, including:

- 167 percent
increase in online course offerings, from 150 courses per quarter in 2006 to 400 courses in 2012.

- 413 percent
increase in online enrollment, from 1,122 in spring 2006 to 5,751 in spring 2012.

- 20 percent
annual increase in total online course count.

The growth of online and hybrid courses developed through DOTS has allowed several schools and colleges to launch the following online and hybrid programs:
- College of Education: LBS1 Endorsement, Type75 Certificate, Curriculum Studies w/Type 75, Ed Leadership
- School of Public Service: MS of Publish Service Management, Master of Public Admin
- Driehaus College of Business: CPA Review, MS Accounting (to be launched in fall 2012)
- College of Communication: of its eight undergraduate majors, four can be taken online and two can be taken in a hybrid format.
- College of Science and Health: psychology major (to be launched in winter 2013), Doctor of Nursing (hybrid, fall 2012) 

Sloan-C Award Criteria:

Effectiveness: The program has led to faculty teaching large numbers of high-quality online courses.
Scope of Impact: The program has been implemented institution-wide or within a significantly large segment of the institution.
Faculty Satisfaction: The program has maintained a high level of faculty satisfaction.
Supporting Letters:  The supporting letters address the quality and effectiveness of the faculty development program.

Relevant Links:


DOTS video and program overview:

Sloan C Award:

(View Larger Image)
Members of DePaul University’s team that won the 2012 Sloan Consortium award for developing an outstanding online teaching program for faculty.