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"Leading Online Learning Through Collaboration" icon

Leading Online Learning Through Collaboration

The purpose of this paper is to describe the evolution, activities, and benefits of the Faculty Online Teaching and Learning Community at Western CarolinaUniversity (WCU). The university itself has become a national leader in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning with its annual Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Faire (this year drew attendees from 23 different higher education institutions) and with its international referred journal Mountainrise.  In addition, WCU has seen rapid growth in online programs as well as the need for faculty preparation for digital instruction.  The Faculty Online Teaching and Learning Community represents one strategy for such preparation.  The authors review the literature on faculty support for training and professional development for online teaching as well as the literature on faculty learning communities.  They describe the grassroots development of the learning community and its development as a formal group. Included are descriptions of the group's involvement in new faculty orientation; the transition to a new course management system; strategies that have evolved from the group such as peer-to-peer feedback; the use of voice technology, and the creation of virtual learning environments; the transfer of the group's experience to other collaborations; and the mentoring and support for untenured faculty in the group.  


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