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Northern Wyoming Community College District

  • Website: www.sheridan.edu
  • Enrollment: Supplemental 9-12 
  • Medium: WEN Video, IVC, Online

Minimum qualifications

Education requirements differ for each academic position based on accreditation requirements and industry needs. Academic credentials or “tested experience” can be used as a basis for determining qualified faculty. The Higher Learning Commission has identified the following common expectations for faculty credentials:

  • Faculty teaching in higher education organizations should have completed a significant program of study in the discipline they will teach and/or for which they will develop curricula, with substantial coursework at least one level above that of the courses being taught or developed. Further, it is assumed that successful completion of a coherent degree better prepares a person than an unstructured collection of credit courses;
  • Faculty teaching in undergraduate programs should hold a degree at least one level above that of the program in which they are teaching, and those teaching general education courses typically hold a master’s degree or higher and should have completed substantial graduate coursework in the discipline of those courses;

Tested experience implies that some objective measure ensures that the individual’s knowledge and expertise are sufficient for determining what students must learn and have learned. For example a:

  • Faculty member who teaches courses in information technology, may not possess a graduate degree, but might have industry certification and years of experience successfully working in the field;
  • Faculty member teaching conversational courses in a Native American or foreign language may demonstrate his/her qualification through formal recognition of competence by tribal elders or through a nationally recognized rating of proficiency in foreign language. 

Professional development

Online or Hybrid Course Development Certification is required for all faculty members who develop and/or teach an online or hybrid course for NWCCD. The purpose of the certification process is to provide a structure for developing the course in a uniform approach and to provide the necessary technical and pedagogical training and support to the faculty. Instructors new to online teaching must complete the 1 credit-hour Designing & Developing an Online Course (EDCI*2526) course taught by the Director of Distance Learning with guest presenters such as experienced online faculty, Assessment Team leaders, and an instructional design specialist. Faculty members who have taught online for another institution who would like to teach online or hybrid courses would be required to complete a 4-6 hour training workshop on teaching online at NWCCD. Both training options can be taken completely online or in hybrid format with some face-to-face sessions.

The following courses will be offered throughout the year in online, hybrid and face-to-face format. Refer to the Distance Learning Website for a schedule of training classes:

  • Designing & Developing an Online Course (1 cr. hr.) Online and Hybrid: Faculty members who have never taught online or a hybrid course and will be developing a course or taking over a developed NWCCD course must take this class.
  • Teaching Online at NWCCD (approx. 4-6 hours) Online and Hybrid: Faculty members who have taught online for another institution who would like to teach online or hybrid courses at NWCCD must take this training
  • Teaching Online Upgrade (approx. 4-6 hours) Online and Hybrid: Faculty members who teach or have taught online for NWCCD but need to learn the upgraded course delivery system platform as well as a few technological and pedagogical advancements in online instruction.
  • Web-enhancing My Courses (approx. 2 hours) Online and On Campus: Faculty members who want to provide course materials such as handouts and quizzes on Blackboard for their traditional classes can take this optional workshop face-to-face or online.

Professional development is a key element in keeping instructors abreast of pedagogical advancements in online instruction, instructional technologies, and course management system upgrades. Online, afternoon, and brown bag lunch venues will be used to provide these training and upgrade opportunities. Faculty members are also encouraged to use departmental and institutional funds to pursue professional development opportunities such as attending conferences, participating in workshops, and taking courses. 

Performance expectations

Instructors who teach online courses for NWCCD are expected to uphold the Quality Matters™ standards in which they were trained. There are forty (40) QM elements within eight (8) broad standards that all proposed courses are evaluated on prior to implementation. The eight standards are as follows:

  1. Course Overview and Introduction
  2. Learning Objectives
  3. Assessment and Measurement
  4. Resources and Materials
  5. Learner Engagement
  6. Course Technology
  7. Learner Support
  8. Accessibility

Within the category of Course Overview and Introduction, instructor’s courses are evaluated on such matters as introducing the course structure to students, etiquette expectations with regard to electronic communication, and an introduction from students to the class. Within the category of Learning Objectives, instructors must address issues such as ensuring that learning objectives describe outcomes that are measurable, are adequately and clearly stated, and address content mastery, critical thinking skills, and core learning skills. Assessment and Measurement category standards require that assessments measure the stated learning objectives, are consistent with course activities, and include descriptive criteria for the evaluation of students’ work and participation. In addition, “self-check” or practice types of assignments are provided for timely student feedback.

Standards within the Resources and Materials category include such topics as breadth, depth, and currency of materials and that the materials are logically sequenced and integrated within the course. Instructors must address Learner Engagement essentials such as ensuring that learning activities foster instructor-student, content-student, and student-student interaction if appropriate as well as setting clear standards for instructor response and availability.

Instructors are expected to adhere to such Course Technology standards as ensuring that tools and media enhance learning, are either provided or easily downloadable, and are being used to take full advantage of learning at a distance. Learner Support is critical for student retention and success and includes providing links and a clear description of technical, academic, and student support offered by NWCCD as well as links to tutorials and resources that answer commonly asked course questions. Accessibility is the last standard and includes elements such as ADA compliance and sensitivity to readability issues that the instructor’s courses will be evaluated on. 

Method(s) of evaluation

Evaluations are designed in part to assess need for self-improvement; to assist in establishing goal performance improvement objectives in the next contract year; to help identify usage for faculty and staff development funds; and to establish a basis for or against incremental awards. All contracted instructors participate in the "Evaluation System for Faculty Development and Improvement of Instruction." Adjunct instructors must participate in student evaluations of instruction and administrative evaluations. Adjunct instructors who wish to participate in the complete evaluation system may do so.

Student evaluations of online courses exists in each online and hybrid course. Between weeks 10 and 11, students will be given a link on each of their online and/or hybrid courses with instructions to access the online evaluation survey instrument. The Director of Distance and Distributive Learning will have access to all evaluation submissions and will compile the data for each instructor and supervisor. Instructors will work with Director to correct deficiencies affecting the quality of the course.