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Faculty Leadership

We are faced as an institution of higher education with the challenge of creating a new culture of education that includes high-quality online learning and doing so in a rapidly changing online environment.

NIU has joined with other universities leading the development of online learning by becoming a Quality Matters (QM) member. QM provides nationally recognized minimum standards for quality online courses. However, these standards address elements of online learning environments and online delivery methods but not the content of courses.

What this means is that NIU needs faculty participation and leadership to combine and integrate high quality online environments and instruction effectively with high quality content. The ultimate goal is to establish basic standards for NIU online environments while retaining the individuality of instructors and course content.

In order for NIU to develop an online education presence that allows students to understand what to expect, what will be consistent in each environment and what elements will be unique to each environment it is necessary to:

  1. Identify key faculty stakeholders who can provide the content expertise and provide feedback during the development of online courses and programs.
  2. Develop an effective collaboration between eLearning, Outreach and Faculty Development to support the development, marketing and teaching of online courses.

Excellent progress is being made toward these goals. The Online Program Development Support (OPDS) Office – which consists of leadership from eLearning, Faculty Development, and Outreach – is collaborating on all efforts to support faculty in the development of quality online courses. We have also become a Quality Matters member. Quality Matters provides a set of minimum standards used to identify and support the development of quality online courses.

What we need to complete our preparation to move forward with the development of innovative and high quality online courses are key stakeholders – faculty members – to be the content experts and give us critical feedback as we all collaborate to create quality online course offerings.

We want you to join us. The following are two ways that you can join in this critical effort to develop a the unified and high quality online presence of NIU:

1. Participate in Quality Matters (QM) workshops

  • Twenty-eight members of the NIU community have already attended a 1-day session where they were introduced to the Quality Matters rubric. The following are statements from participants in the first QM training:
    • “Thank you for providing this wonderful training! It is greatly appreciated.”
    • “ Great to see all the great people involved and in attendance - think that it will be a positive program to guarantee consistency in our online courses and programs.”
    • “Great session! Very helpful!”
    • “Very helpful to apply QM standards to online courses.”
    • “Learned a lot today and am excited about how NIU will move forward adopting QM institutionally. Hope to get more opportunities for professional development regarding QM.”
    • “I'm inspired. This was helpful.” 
  • Future sessions of the QM training will be offered soon. If you are interested in participating in QM training, email opds@niu.edu.

2. Join our Faculty Advisory Group

  • To develop a consistent and high quality online presence, it is critical that faculty members be the driving force in the development. The Provost’s Advisory Committee for Online Learning Advancement (ACOLA) will be created as a forum for faculty to provide feedback on issues related to the development of high quality online courses at NIU.
  • If you are interested in learning more or joining this advisory group, please contact John Cowan (jcowan@niu.edu).