Item #3: Submitted by the Executive
Committee (2015/2016- Sept)
of the DL Task Force
Contributing Task Force members:
Asai Asaithambi, Candice Carter, Georgette Dumont, Alice Eng, Lakshmi Goel,
Saurabh Gupta, Alan Harris, Wanda Hedrick, Julie Ingersoll, Jennifer Kane, Philip
Kaplan, Tammie Johnson, Peter Magyari, Lauren Newton, Richard Patterson,
Richard Phillips, Zornitza Prodanoff, Katherine Robinson, Diane Tanner, Lance
Taylor. Chair: Scott Hochwald
The following resolution was the raison d’être
for the committee.
on Distance Learning
Association has grave concerns about the speed, origin, and direction of recent
Distance Learning directives. Such directives are issued with little (if
any) consultation with faculty. The faculty voices on the Distance Learning
committee have been side-stepped by having decisions presented to committee
members rather than being made by votes at committee meetings. The
directives are being presented to faculty without explanation as to their
origination and without explicit votes of support from the Distance Learning
committee or other faculty governance body. In addition, the directives
do not seem to be merely the procedural implementation of university policies
but rather have implications that affect every faculty member’s right and
responsibility to design his or her courses according to his or her
disciplinary and pedagogical expertise. More specifically, the directives
impose restrictions, to which UNF faculty have never formally agreed, on course
delivery models and related pedagogical and curricular decisions. We are
also gravely concerned that a unit whose mission is to support faculty has
become a unit that seeks to evaluate faculty outside of evaluative process
delineated in the collective bargaining agreement.
therefore, be it resolved that the UNF Faculty Association calls for:
Task Force met there were changes in DL at UNF that were in line with the
spirit of the resolution. At this time
the report addresses those concerns that remain outstanding.
University-wide conversation about the future of Distance Learning at UNF;
immediate halt to the unilateral policy decisions being made by the AVP for
Academic Technology and director of CIRT regarding distance learning;
- broader faculty decision making authority through explicit votes on Distance
Learning policies within Faculty Association committees and the Distance
careful and deliberate development of policies that imply potential
restrictions on faculty judgments about their own pedagogical and curricular
1. Certification of both faculty and courses.
- Whether a faculty member is qualified to teach
an on-line course should be a decision made by the faculty member, his or her
department chair, and any faculty body designated by the latter. The
general principle to be followed is that the faculty member is considered
qualified to teach on-line if he or she is capable of designing a DL
course that meets generally accepted standards by a UNF recognized
distance learning quality measure instrument or an equivalent alternative.
But of course a chair can take into account other considerations related
to that faculty member’s qualifications and standing, including any
subsequent evaluation of his or her success in implementing the course.
Faculty who have already designed and taught DL courses successfully may
be considered qualified to teach other DL courses. In cases in which a
faculty member is considered for teaching a DL course designed by someone
else, the chair may use other factors to assess his or her qualification
(e.g. expertise in the course field, previous experience teaching on-line,
general strengths as a teacher).
- In deciding whether a proposed DL course meets generally
accepted standards, the chair may use a UNF recognized distance learning
quality measure instrument as his or her guide (even, if desired,
requiring the faculty member to submit the course for evaluation by that
instrument). It must be recognized, however, that faculty retain autonomy
in deciding which aspects of the specific standards are suitable for a
given course and for their teaching style: faculty should be allowed
flexibility in the decisions about which course design measures to incorporate, as would be the
case for a face-to-face course. The Chair decides whether he or she will
use the university measurement tool.
2. The role of CIRT
CIRT staff should provide DL advice,
support, and training for faculty. As stated in their mission statement, the
role of CIRT is ”to offer expertise,
resources, and training to assist faculty in ways that enable them to develop
greater capacities for using technology for teaching and research. CIRT also
disseminates ideas, frameworks, and materials that apply pedagogical knowledge
to the teaching and learning process.” CIRT
should also incentivize the use of teaching technology by faculty in all modes
of instruction. We believe this is best
accomplished by giving faculty stipends to actively participate in workshops in
which they learn how to use teaching technology appropriate to their
disciplines. Additionally, CIRT should continue to provide support for faculty
in as timely a manner as needed.
The DL Committee should
consist of two faculty representatives from each College except for the College
of Arts and Sciences. That College will
have four faculty representatives. The Associate
VP for Academic Technology and Innovation should be an ex officio non-voting
member of the Committee. The Associate
VP for Academic Technology and Innovation can bring advisors to DL Committee
meetings. The Chair of the Committee
will be one of the faculty representatives and will be elected by the faculty
representatives. The newly formed DL Committee
should draft bylaws that reflect the reality that faculty are at the center of
4. Allocation of the DL Fee.
fee should be used to fund three categories.
Those categories are: student needs, faculty needs, and infrastructure. The DL Committee will review on an annual
basis DL fee allocations in previous years and solicit input from stakeholders
as to current DL needs. The Committee
will then make recommendations for the allocation of the DL fee for the
upcoming year. At the end of each fee
year the DL Committee will issue an accountability report detailing how the
fees were actually used. The members of
the DL Committee will share all reports with their respective Colleges.
5. DL Office Hours
DL Office Hours should
be held in the medium that is best for students. This could be in a faculty office or in a
remote location where technology is used to conduct synchronous meetings. The total number of office hours will be
determined by the collective bargaining agreement.
6. DL Class Size
size should be set with the overall quality of the course as a guide. In many cases DL courses require roughly the
same or even more time spent by the instructor per student than face-to-face
courses. In general caps for online and
face-to-face courses should be comparable.
If there is a need for online caps to exceed face-to-face caps, then
additional teaching credit should be awarded proportional to the class size in
an equitable manner.
(coaches) are needed for DL courses, then the duties of those assistants will
be formulated by the instructors of the DL courses. The instructors requesting assistants will
submit their proposals to their Chairs.
The Chairs in turn will prioritize the assistant needs of their
Departments and forward those recommendations to their Deans. The Deans will determine the allocations for
assistants. The DL fee should be used to
adequately fund faculty assistant needs as informed by this process.
testing of students is a major concern.
It is imperative that the integrity of the testing process is
assured. Faculty should have the
autonomy to decide how their students are tested. Since a significant number of DL students are
in Jacksonville, a Testing Center should be created at UNF using DL fees that
will accommodate the projected number of students who could be tested locally.
9. Student Support
a 24-7 site for student support. This
needs to be planned by the DL Committee and funded by the DL fee.