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CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | August/September 2017
How to Help Faculty Create Online Courses
The University of Arizona developed a toolkit to help new instructional designers and online instructors get up to speed in building courses for students that might never show their faces on campus.
By Dian Schaffhauser
BEFORE 2015, FACULTY AT THE University of Arizona who wanted to teach online didn’t have much in the way of formal support for building their online courses. Instructors got approval from their department heads to do an online course, and they may have opted into help from the Office of Instruction & Assessment (OIA), but there were no established processes or requirements. For some faculty, that was the end of the onboarding experience. “That’s all you got,” said Angela Gunder, associate director of the Office of Digital Learning (ODL). “You [were] now an online instructor.”
With the launch of UA Online, the university’s virtual campus offering fully online degree programs, ODL was created with the goal of “doing things a little bit differently,” said Gunder. Instructional designers assumed that meant a more structured approach with “benchmarks” and “steps,” but Melody Buckner, director of ODL, had a different idea: focusing on faculty. Buckner decreed, “[Instructional designers are] going to listen to faculty about how they teach, how their students prefer to learn and the unique challenges they face in the classroom,” as Gunder recalled. “The faculty are going to drive the process, with the instructional designer
there to support and facilitate production.”
At the same time, Buckner assured ODL team members that they’d gain access to the
resources (both people and tools) they’d need to help faculty prepare for an onslaught of new

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