Ferris Online
Faculty Teaching Online

Who selects the faculty who teach online courses?

Full time faculty who are interested in teaching an online course typically work with their department during the class scheduling process to be assigned to one or more online sections as they would with any course sections.

Adjunct faculty are reviewed and appointed by the College through which the course is offered. Faculty who teach online are screened in the same ways as faculty who teach face-to-face, except that online faculty typically have one additional requirement. Many departments have a faculty review process that includes faculty who teach in the department who decide whether a prospective faculty member has the proper experience to teach selected courses. Sometimes it is a department head who reviews. In all cases, similar qualifications are expected. Individuals are identified as having been approved for particular courses within the program, department, or college.

The one additional consideration given to online faculty credentials is whether they have been trained in the use of the BlackBoard system.

In some cases, Extended and International Operations will assist with identification of prospective faculty, but credentials are always submitted through the appropriate College and decisions about which faculty members are deemed to be qualified are made within the College.

Do faculty who teach online have to be trained first?

Yes. To be provided with a course shell for building or importing an online course, faculty members must be on the list of individuals who have been trained. Department heads/chairs may make exceptions to this for individuals who have other appropriate training or experience. BlackBoard training is available in an online format, through individualized instruction, and through group training programs. All are announced regularly. Contact the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning for options that fit your schedule.

Some consideration has been given to requiring that Ferris instructors have achieved a Level 4 Certification before they are approved to teach an online course; others reject this notion, because reaching the certification is no guarantee that the pedagogy is being employed. It is common for universities to require that faculty be trained in the use of the tool and online pedagogy. At this time, approval for an online course shell requires only two levels of training, BlackBoard Basics (Phase 1) and Collaboration Tools (Phase 2).

Some Colleges are providing peer mentors for new online faculty. Some universities or colleges are providing coaches for adjunct instructors who teach online.

Are faculty members required to teach online?

While there remain plenty of options for instructors to teach classes in the traditional methods, there should be no requirement for faculty to teach online unless they are willing and have completed the BlackBoard training.  The EMAT team has strongly encouraged the use of volunteers first when staffing online courses, and the faculty contract supports that use of volunteers.