The Online Learning Consortium announced that UMBC's Instructional Technology team has earned an Effective Practice Award for its Planning Instructional Variety for Online Teaching (PIVOT) program. Led by Dr. Mariann Hawken, representatives from the Instructional Technology team will receive the award at the OLC Accelerate conference in Washington, D.C.
“As we return to campus life, it is undeniable that the pandemic shift to online learning and PIVOT’s support has made an impact on our faculty and students,” said Jack Suess, Vice President of IT and CIO.
Learning Effectiveness: The practice demonstrates effectiveness in producing learning outcomes, which are consistent with learner needs and representative of the distinctive quality of the institution.
Scale: The practice offers the best possible educational value to learners and supports achieving capacity enrollment.
Access: The practice has improved access to education by expanding opportunities and/or reducing barriers.
Faculty Satisfaction: The practice has maintained a high level of faculty satisfaction.
Student Satisfaction: Learners who are impacted by the practice express satisfaction with their learning experience.
“The OLC Awards program is an opportunity to showcase leadership and innovation in the field of online, blended, and digital learning,” said Dr. Jennifer Mathes, Chief Executive Officer of the Online Learning Consortium. “The awards program allows us not only to celebrate the incredible work that has been done by our community in the past year, but to look forward to what is possible in the year to come.”
Given the rapid shift to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Instructional Technology team created the PIVOT program to help faculty better prepare for a long-term commitment to virtual instruction. Leveraging an approach that targeted an individual instructor’s reflection on technology use, online pedagogies, and course content, PIVOT took faculty through a course design and online teaching journey. Since faculty engagement in planning and delivering this important training is critical to establishing peer relationships, the program included peer mentors for pedagogical and technical facilitation. “For many of our faculty members,” said Dr. John Stolle-McAllister, Associate Dean, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, “this collaboration was a highlight of the program because they learned from each other and engaged with instructors from their own and other departments, sharing ideas and exploring tasks and projects that they would not have otherwise considered.”
PIVOT reached about 70% of UMBC’s faculty, and the majority of participants said the program was helpful for their pedagogical shift to online teaching. Faculty found their role as students in the training course and access to peer mentors to be among the most valuable aspects of the program. Students reported PIVOT-designed courses were well organized and planned. Moreover, there is a statistically significant, positive relationship between instructors completing PIVOT training and elevated course-level average values on end of semester evaluations (p<.001). Courses taught by PIVOT-trained instructors also have increased LMS interactions, which indicate improved learner engagement. “While the pandemic has been a huge challenge,” said Dr. Sarah Shinn, Associate Provost, “our PIVOT program has played a critical role in helping our faculty and students be successful.” Earlier this year, PIVOT also received the 2021 "Job Well Done" award from UMBC's Human Resources department.
Through the OLC Effective Practices program, the OLC community shares techniques, strategies and practices that have worked effectively in their institution or program. Two rounds of Effective Practices Awards are awarded annually.
A free panel discussion and celebration is scheduled for the OLC Accelerate Virtual Awards Gala on Monday September 20, 2021 at 7:45 PM as a part of the OLC Accelerate virtual program. Further opportunities to engage directly with these winners are currently being scheduled for after the conclusion of the OLC Accelerate conference when a selection of these award-winning individuals will be hosting free public webinars for the OLC community. The final schedule for these webinars will be announced in a future release.
More information about the OLC Effective Practice Awards can be found online at https://onlinelearningconsortium.org/about/olc-awards/effective-practices/