Developing the online teaching experience

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Davis
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Keesler’s Faculty Development flight launched a new Online Training Development course specializing in instructing educators on techniques for a virtual teaching environment.

The course was originally developed in response to COVID-19 when many educators and students across the 81st Training Wing pivoted to online learning in support of the mission.

“The purpose of online training development is to provide a streamlined approach to the understanding of instructional materials and courseware used in virtual learning environments,” said Tim Boileau, 81st Training Support Squadron faculty development course director.

Educators will participate in an 80-hour course delivered under a university model, spreading the course hours over four weeks.

“We have some synchronous sessions where the instructor goes over what they're going to be doing that week, and then the rest is up to the students to work on it with deliverable dates,” said George Holbert, 81st Training Support Squadron faculty development training manager. “It breaks the mold of traditional classroom training by delivering instruction under a university model.”

To ensure the quality of education being offered, Keesler’s course developers turned to another university technique.

“A major tenet of this course, which makes it a game changer, is that we have aligned it with the Quality Matters rubric for online training education,” said Boileau. “That rubric is used by over 1,500 universities worldwide as a way of judging the quality of the course throughout the development phase through implementation.”

Educators will receive five Community College of the Air Force credit hours upon training completion.

The course also represents a shift to Student Centered Active Learning with Upside-down Pedagogies, or SCALE-UP, recognizing that students who are actively engaged in creating their own learning experience enhances their ability to build and retain knowledge.

“Our mission is aligned with the Air Force Continuum of Learning, similarly to other branches of service,” said Boileau. “In order to support the war fighting mission on a global basis, we need to look at professional development from an Airman's entire career, whether they are in for four years or 20 years. We need to provide effective, efficient and engaging training, anytime, anyplace.”

So far, responses from educators who have taken the course have reflected the original goal.

“We believe it is the right course at the right time and thus far the feedback we receive from our students has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Boileau.