Commissioned by Boise State University President Dr. Marlene Tromp and Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Tony Roark, the Center for Teaching and Learning and the eCampus Center at Boise State collaborated to provide the Flexible Teaching for Student Success Initiative over the summer.
This initiative provided faculty development resources and facilitated the development of online master courses that would serve first-year or first-time students and benefit classes with high enrollments.
“We’re here to help faculty pivot their courses in whatever way necessary to meet students’ needs,” said Associate Dean and Executive Director of eCampus Christine Bauer. “Boise State came into fall semester thinking of student equity and how to take a flexible approach.”
The Flexible Teaching for Student Success Initiative was developed to help instructors prepare for fall and future semesters. The initiative provides tools to create flexible teaching opportunities and quality experiences for students. The initiative was split to assist faculty in two key areas: professional development for faculty and online course development for high enrollment, high impact classes.
With a mission to serve students and faculty, the goal was to help faculty prepare to pivot as modalities shift throughout the semester.
“Every school out there is doing the best they can to help students,” stated Bauer. “At Boise State, we really strive to know our students so we can understand and meet their needs.”
“At Boise State, we really strive to know our students so we can understand and meet their needs.”
— Associate Dean and Executive Director of eCampus, Christine Bauer
High enrollment, high impact
The high enrollment, high impact section of the Flexible Teaching and Student Success initiative focused on the development of online master courses to create an engaged online learning environment for first-year or first-time Boise State students.
The eCampus Center partnered with the Boise State campus community to identify a number of high enrollment courses that could be developed as online master courses, with the potential to have a high impact on student success. A master course is a fully developed online course that is designed with the intent that multiple instructors from an academic department will teach copies of the master course each semester.
Facing the rapidly-approaching deadline of fall, teams of faculty and eCampus Center staff worked tirelessly to develop courses that would benefit students over multiple semesters. As master courses are implemented, they receive ongoing revisions and support from the eCampus Center to ensure the courses are updated with changes determined by the department and continue to meet quality standards.
The high enrollment, high impact initiative served faculty and students from across multiple departments and resulted in an additional 1,750 Boise State student enrollments in high quality online courses (comparing 10th-day data of fall 2019 to fall 2020).
Flexible teaching and faculty development
To prepare faculty to teach flexibly and effectively this fall, the Center for Teaching and Learning and the eCampus Center partnered to offer a three-tiered professional development opportunity for faculty as the second piece to the Flexible Teaching and Student Success Initiative. This professional development was focused on faculty who had little to no experience developing or teaching a course for either online, hybrid or remote delivery.
The tiered delivery was divided into institutes, workshops and other help sessions/resources to accommodate the needs of faculty and fit their schedules. As a new initiative, the Center for Teaching and Learning and the eCampus Center were able to incorporate feedback and modify preparations as fall semester plans became more clear.
The professional development initiative served 646 faculty members across its three tiers. With the tools they need to be successful, faculty can apply flexible teaching methods to meet student needs for Fall 2020 and beyond.
The future of flexible learning and student engagement
The creation of highly engaging, highly impactful master courses and professional development opportunities for flexible learning will continue to benefit students in future semesters. The eCampus Center will continue to offer faculty resources for the development of fully online courses and the creation of fully online programs.
“Our mission is to serve our students, and we do that by supporting our faculty.” — Christine Bauer
Opportunities like the Flexible Teaching for Student Success Initiative provide valuable resources for faculty and students and foster innovation in education at Boise State.
Story by Erin Taylor for Boise State Extended Studies