As the landscape of college teaching changes and grows, instructors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are pioneering creative pedagogical approaches to foster transformative learning experiences.
The Online Teaching Academy was created in the summer of 2020 to assist faculty, instructors and teaching assistants transition to online teaching while becoming familiar with tools and techniques for online instruction. Teaching faculty joined experts from the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, Tech Services and college-level educational technology units to workshop their pedagogical approaches.
During the Online Teaching Academy, instructional staff designed their online and hybrid courses within a community of fellow instructors. The program discussed key principles of online learning and best practices for hybrid course design. Additionally, the course included specialists in eLearning, instructional design, technology support, assessments, accessibility, copyright and student engagement.
Throughout the summer, three sessions were offered in preparation for the Fall 2020 semester. Enrollment in the June 2020 session drew nearly 500 instructors and teaching assistants, while the July 2020 session drew nearly 800 participants. The Online Teaching Academy then transitioned to an asynchronous model for August 2020 to support an additional 740 participants. 89% of attendees reported that the Online Teaching Academy effectively prepared them for the online components of their fall courses.