Gordon State reports 100% faculty successfully complete online certification

Assistant Professor of History Dr. Franklin Williamson serves as one of 21 mentors to faculty peers who are adapting their classes to online formats.

BARNESVILLE — Gordon State College made the commitment that every instructor teaching for Fall Semester 2020 would complete the college’s certification process to teach online.

The process is a time-intensive experience, consisting of two courses that must be successfully completed: Highlander Trails—Learning to Teach Online, which was developed by Instructional Technologist Autumn Schafer, and Quality Matters, a national training program. Issues related to online course delivery are overseen by Assistant Vice President for Innovative Education and Strategic Initiatives Dr. Ric Calhoun, who recently reported that 100% of full-time and part-time instructors teaching this fall have successfully completed the training/certification process.

“The fact that 100% of our faculty are completely certified to teach online at Gordon is a huge deal,” Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. C. Jeffery Knighton said. “I’m so impressed, and thankful, that our faculty—full and part-time—made this commitment that will truly benefit our students. To illustrate this commitment, the certification process takes an average of 12 to 20 hours to complete, depending on the instructor’s previous experience. So we’re talking about a commitment of approximately 2000 hours of work this summer, a time when many of our faculty were not technically on contract.”

Gordon sent eight members to training in the summer to promote active learning online. The training for GSC faculty members included additional ways to support students in the online environment as well as demonstrations of tools, best practices and establishing modules. Fall semester started Aug. 12 and students had the option to select in-person, hybrid or fully on-line formats with 49.7% of students taking fully-online and 50.3% of students taking classes in person or partially online.

When Gordon State shifted to fully online with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Knighton said 21 faculty members graciously agreed to serve as one-on-one mentors for their peers to assist with converting courses from traditional to online formats.

The mentors also committed to serving for the current semester as well.

Mentors include Dr. Kris Beck, Professor of Political Science; Samantha Bishop, Director of Nursing, Professor of Nursing; Darren Broome, Professor of Spanish; Valerie Calhoun, Student Success Advisor/Lecturer; Dr. Geoff Clement, Professor of Math; Dr. Doug Davis, Professor of English; Ally Hattermann, Associate Professor of Physical Education; Bethany Johnson, Part-time Instructor of Sociology; Dr. Brenda Johnson, Professor of Business; Dr. Brent Johnson, Associate Professor of Education; Dr. Prathibha Joshi Beck, Professor of Economics; Mike Lill, Part-time Instructor of Business; Wendy Martin, Associate Professor of Nursing; Tony Pearson, Associate Professor of Theater; Dr. Lynn Rumfelt, Interim Department Head for Department of Natural Sciences and Professor of Biology; Dr. Scott Shubitz, Assistant Professor of History; Katherine Sylvestre, Student Success Advisor/Lecturer; Dr. Jessica Traylor, Assistant Professor of Psychology; Tim Vick, Part-time Instructor of Business and Information Technology; Dr. Katie Wester-Neal, Assistant Professor of Education and Dr. Franklin Williamson, Assistant Professor of History.

Beck, Bishop, Ric and Valerie Calhoun, Johnson, Pearson, Schaffer and Traylor earned a micro-credential for completing Promoting Active Learning Online training, which was held from June through August offered through the Association of College and University Educators. The group will share their insight through the GSC Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) events throughout the academic year in addition to assisting a specific group of faculty with their training.