Templates, Tools, and Resources

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Faculty Manual for Online Teaching at Penn State (March 2017)
This manual for faculty who teach online is intended to serve as a template that academic units across the University can adapt for their own use. Once customized, the resulting manual will provide faculty with important unit-specific information about best practices, policies, and procedures related to online teaching and learning.

Here is an example of how one academic unit adapted this resource for their own needs.

Mentoring Program Template
An effective faculty mentoring program can help faculty members share and acquire the professional skills and attitudes for personal, career, and institutional success. This information is adapted from a resource created by World Campus Faculty Development in 2011 and can be adapted for your local use.


Checklist for Administrator Review & Approval of Online Courses
The Faculty Engagement Subcommittee of the Penn State Online Coordinating Council designed this form to guide you through the initial review of an online course that has been developed by a faculty member from your unit in collaboration with a learning designer. The materials typically reviewed at this stage include a course outline/syllabus and sample lessons.

Course Design Checklist
New to developing an online course and are going it alone? This document is designed to be used as a resource by faculty to prepare for creating residential, hybrid, and online courses without direct assistance from a learning designer or other support personnel.

Course Revision Worksheet
There are many reasons that might lead to the need for an online course revision. The Faculty Engagement Subcommittee of the Penn State Online Coordinating Council designed this worksheet for use by course development teams to communicate the reasons for a course revision, the specific course items in need of revision, the percentage of revision needed for each course item, the personnel who need to be involved in those revisions, and the total percentage of effort that will be required. This information can then be used to assign the appropriate resources to the course revision project.

Penn State’s Courseware site is a centralized resource where one can find out if a particular digital, educational application or software used by students or educators for a class has already been reviewed by the University and approved for use or can request that a particular courseware be reviewed for use.

Ed Tech Advisor (ETA)
The Ed Tech Advisor (ETA) was created to help faculty and staff discover technology tools that will help them accomplish their teaching and learning goals. Trying to accomplish something and not sure what the best tool is for the job? Let the ETA help you!

Faculty Competencies for Online Teaching
The Faculty Engagement Subcommittee of the Penn State Online Coordinating Council developed this document detailing pedagogical, technical, and administrative competencies for online teaching.

Faculty Peer Review for Face-to-Face and Hybrid Courses
The Faculty Engagement Subcommittee of the Penn State Online Coordinating Council designed, implemented, and assessed this peer review process for face-to-face and hybrid courses. The work is based on the “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education,” a summary of 50 years of higher education research that addressed good teaching and learning practices.

Faculty Peer Review of Online Teaching
To address the need for online course peer review in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, the Dutton Institute designed, implemented, and assessed this peer review process for online teaching, a Peer Review Guide for Online Teaching at Penn State.

Faculty Self-Assessment for Online Teaching
The Faculty Engagement Subcommittee of the Penn State Online Coordinating Council developed this faculty self-assessment for online teaching. This tool is available for individuals to use as a self-assessment for their readiness for online teaching.

Hiring Guidelines
The Faculty Engagement Subcommittee of the Penn State Online Coordinating Council developed these documents to help guide the hiring process for online program lead faculty, course authors, and course instructors. Also included are a list of sample interview questions for online instructors.

“Hours of Instructional Activity” Resource Page
The Hours of Instructional Activity” resource provides faculty and instructional designers with general estimates of the amount of student learning time required in online and blended courses to help them answer the question of “is there too much/not enough” in the course.

Instructional Video Guide
This guide is intended for faculty, instructional designers, and multimedia specialists that are in the early stages of creating a video for teaching purposes. The guide breaks down the many types of pedagogically-useful videos into several types and sub-types in order to help one think about the best approaches for discussing your content. Includes examples of both low- and high-investment video.

“iStudy for Success” Tutorials
The iStudy tutorials are designed to advance students’ knowledge and skills in areas that can promote overall academic achievement, such as studying, communicating, and career planning. Faculty can incorporate these modules directly into their online course materials for their students to use.

Managing Your Online Class
A comprehensive to-do list to aid instructors when delivering a class online, from before the course begins to after it ends!

Penn State Quality Assurance e-Learning Design Standards
These standards provide a measure of quality assurance for online courses in order to serve the needs of Penn State students.

Additional Resources for Faculty and Designers

Extensive information about accessibility and usability at Penn State.

Best Practices for Teaching via Videoconferencing at Penn State
This site is designed to guide you towards the best uses of videoconferencing for instructional purposes, including best practices before, during, and after an educational videoconference. The site also contains checklists and other useful documents.

Copyright Agreement for Instructional Materials and Courseware Commissioned by The Pennsylvania State University
This document is the official copyright agreement for instructional materials and courseware that are created as “works for hire” by Penn State.

Copyright and Creative Commons in Education and Training
This website by Penn Stater Stevie Rocco provides valuable information and resources about finding and using materials from the Internet.

EdTech Tips (The Center for Teaching Excellence, Penn State Harrisburg)
A video library of educational practices and supported tools. Packaged in quick 1-2 minute videos, each tip pairs technology with pedagogy, providing examples for faculty to integrate these ideas in their courses.

Faculty Development Resources (Dutton Institute, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences)
A collection of resources related to designing, developing, and the administration of online courses.

A Penn State glossary of terms related to e-learning and distance education.

“How Much Does it Cost to Offer a Mature Online Course?”
This article describes why “it depends” is the answer to this important question. It outlines the many factors related to determine course support costs and provides an example of how to account for such costs. This work was featured in an article in Inside Higher Ed, titled “Keeping Online Courses Fresh: Valuable, but Costly” by Mark Lieberman (July 18, 2018).

Hybrid Course Classification @ Penn State
One specific requirement for students to be eligible for a PHEAA Pennsylvania State Grant is that they must complete 50% of their credits through classroom instruction. As a result, all hybrid courses must be classified beginning Fall 2019 in order for the Office of Student Aid to evaluate PHEAA eligibility. While only undergraduate students are eligible for PHEAA grants, all hybrid courses including master’s level courses must be coded with the proper hybrid classification. This webpage provides details on how to classify a hybrid course in the University’s systems.

Hybrid Learning @ Penn State
This website is a resource where you can learn about hybrid learning at Penn State. The intent is to support a community and provide a repository for the commonwealth campuses / colleges and the former Video Learning Network to maintain resources and best practices in hybrid learning with or without a videoconferencing component.

Learning Pathways
Penn State’s IT Learning and Development unit has created a number of “Learning Pathways” to help the University community learn how to use various technology tools like Canvas, Office365, and Zoom. New Learning Pathways are added periodically, so be sure to check back!

LMS Interface Task Force Best Practice Recommendations
This report provides recommendations of best practices to be used for the Canvas implementation. The recommendations speak specifically to course content organization (including recommended home page), navigation, assignment instructions, due dates, syllabus, and naming conventions for items in Canvas. These recommendations are based on the results of a large survey of students that examined the impacts of inconsistent user interfaces on student learning experiences, and an audit of courses by multiple eLearning units.

MOOCs at Penn State (Massive Open Online Courses)

OER and Low Cost Materials at Penn State
This site is the official Web presence of the Penn State Open Educational Resources (OER) initiative. This site serves as a clearinghouse for OER/low cost material information across the University.

State Authorization Regulations
The Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants all states the authority to regulate education within their boundaries. In 2011, the University’s Office of General Counsel charged Outreach and Online Education (OOE) with securing and maintaining state authorization compliance due to the presence of the World Campus in all 50 states. Penn State faculty and staff can learn more about that work and state authorizations in general via the link above.

University Libraries “Library Inclusion and Online Learning: All Things Library and World Campus Related”
This website, maintained by librarian Torrie Raish, includes copies of Library News for the Penn State e-Learning Community, a monthly newsletter from Library Services to Penn State Online and the World Campus. The newsletter, written for for the e-Learning Community at Penn State, with particular focus on services and resources for Instructional Designers and Instructors and Faculty, features new databases and tutorials, library “tips and tricks,” and other information from University Libraries.

World Campus Faculty Development
The World Campus Faculty Development team is dedicated to serving the professional development needs of faculty teaching online, face-to-face, via the Video Learning Network and every combination in between!

Resources for Students

“Are You Ready to Be an Online Learner?”
The Penn State Online Coordinating Council’s Faculty Engagement Subcommittee has created this page for learners new to the online learning experience. It outlines the qualities and skills needed to be a successful online learner, and includes a self-evaluation questionnaire and links to relevant resources.

University Libraries
Students enrolled in online courses — whether residing on campus or off — are able to access much of what the University Libraries have to offer, including printed and electronic materials, books, and assistance from librarians.

Page Contact: Ann Taylor

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