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Strategies for eLearning Success

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Photo of Stacey L. Hilton

By Stacey L. Hilton
Manager, Teaching & eLearning Support, Yavapai College

The teaching and eLearning support (TeLS) department at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona was nominated and chosen to receive ITC's 2012 Award for Outstanding Technical Support and Service.  It has been an exciting ride throughout the past decade for many eLearning support departments.  We have gone back and forth under the organizational structure of the information technology and instructional services departments.  The reason this five-person team was nominated for this award was because each member has built a strong rapport with faculty, due to their commitment for offering quality online education at Yavapai College, and because each individual has a rich, diverse background in teaching and learning.  Their creative, innovative, and technical literacy is second to none.

The TeLS group maintains its Web presence through a variety of resources:

The summer and winter institutes have been the TeLS department's largest events since they first offered a program in the summer of 2006.  Its success prompted the college to begin supporting biannual, multi-day teaching and learning events for full-time and adjunct faculty.  The institutes highlight best practices and technology topics for enhancing the student learning experience.  The three-day summer institute follows the spring semester in May, and the two-day winter institute follows the fall semester in December.  The department invites staff and community members to attend sessions that are applicable to their job performance and career needs.

Faculty and staff have conducted approximately 440 workshop sessions during the institutes—1,388 participants have engaged in 9,420 total training hours, with the following statistics.

  • 125.1 average attendees (756.2 total training engagement hours)
  • 30.8 percent are adjunct faculty (35.8 percent total training engagement)
  • 44.9 percent are full time faculty (51.5 percent total training engagement)
  • 23.3 percent staff and community (13.7 percent  total training engagement)

TeLS also sponsors the Faculty Showcase, a biannual event in the middle of each semester that uses Blackboard Collaborate to deliver workshops to adjunct faculty who cannot attend sessions during the day or to faculty located at other campus locations.

The TeLS team maintains a Google document for work orders received each semester.  Staff review the document for consistent technical and learning management system issues, and training and support for faculty and students. These reviews, along with meetings to define needs, serve as a basis for workshop offerings, blog content, and institute sessions. During the fall 2011 semester, the department received more than 1,000 work orders—Perceptis, the 24/7 Help Desk provider, only send 6.5 percent directly to the department. The rest dealt with drop-in training and support requests.  The team logged over 150 hours of brown bag trainings with close to 500 participants in one semester.

The department's work is just beginning. Continuous analysis and evaluation of instructional methods is relevant and necessary.   The Higher Learning Commission just visited the campus during the fall 2011 semester.  The accreditation team recommended the full offering of online degree and certificate programs.  The institutional success rates for the fall of 2010 and spring of 2011 was 74 percent, while student retention in online courses was 66 percent.  This is equivalent to the median institutional success rates reported in the 2011 National Community College Benchmark Project.  There are many opportunities to continue improving education.  The staff believes the recent newly-implemented teaching online training course and the new online course advisory committee will help them implement the online guidelines more comprehensively.  They hope online course success rates will increase.

The Teaching & eLearning Support staff thanks ITC members for sharing their best practices, providing excellent online tutorials and documentation, and for taking the time to network with us at a variety of different conferences.  If it wasn’t for all of your ideas and support, there is no way we could have received this award.

-- Published in ITC's Spring 2012 Newsletter