We are developing a more formal distance learning policy and we have a few questions as to how other SUNY schools approach the issues and what Open SUNY recommends.
We would like to make sure all faculty who will teach online have experience. What is recommended online teaching experience? Two semesters? 6 semesters?
Enforcement. How do we enforce our policies, especially with tenured faculty. With faculty just beginning to teach online we can probably set up a policy of putting them on probation for a few semesters to see if they are the right fit.
I've heard of several campuses having requirements to train faculty before they teach.
A key question ... Do the same requirements exist for F2F faculty? "Probation" sounds threatening.
A training program for faculty would be more "collegial" as you would encourage more collaboration.
Here's some language from our policies/procedures manual regarding faculty development:
"Faculty who have agreed to develop an online/hybrid course must complete “new faculty” training sessions related to effective online teaching/learning and related to the course management system. Faculty must also complete training to stay current with new or revised course management systems.
In every case possible, the College is committed to staffing online courses with full-time faculty. When full-time faculty are not available, qualified adjunct faculty may be hired to develop and teach online/hybrid courses. Academic divisions will retain control of faculty selection for their courses. Unless an exception is agreed upon between the VPAA, Distance Learning Coordinator, and the academic department chair, full-time and part-time faculty must have experience teaching the course in a traditional classroom before developing the course for online delivery."
Since our faculty are compensated for developing online courses, we can couple that with the responsibility to complete training. They sign an agreement for course development. It's part of our union contract.
Just seeing this now, we are going through something similar. What I have found that was useful/helpful in a non-threatening way are using terms like pathways to faculty readiness, looking at some other school's policies (I like New Paltz's processes, listed on their website). We are doing the same as there is a large absence of information, processes, policies, etc for online learning. Feel free to email me Ian :)