WVSU | West Virginia State University

Center for Online Learning

The mission of the Center for Online Learning (COL) at West Virginia State University (WVSU) is to assist faculty members to use educational technologies that help support their teaching and enhance the learning and retention of their students. The strategic functions and key operational focus of the Center, derived from its mission, include the following five primary focus areas:
  1. Administering and managing the University learning management system, WVSU Online, and providing technical training and support to faculty and students,
  2. Providing training and support in effective design and delivery of online courses as well as promoting the best-practices in these areas,
  3. Promoting and facilitating the implementation of “Quality Matters” standards for online courses (a national accreditation program and West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission initiative) at the University and assisting the faculty in conducting self reviews of online courses,
  4. Reviewing and reporting on developments in educational technology, and
  5. Providing consultation on the selection of academic computer hardware and software as it relates to online learning.
Administration and Support for WVSU Online
One of the primary functions of the Center involves the administration of the University’s current learning management system (LMS).  During the Summer 2012 semester, WVSU transitioned from its old Blackboard CE4 (WebCT 4.1) to the new virtual learning environment, WVSU Online, which is powered by the open-source learning management system, Sakai CLE.  The system is managed by the Center’s staff and is hosted externally by rSmart who provides 24/7 server administration and maintenance at its state of the art data center.  Technical support for the LMS can be obtained at the Center’s Help Desk.
 
Instructional Design: Training and Support
The Center also offers training on course setup and use of WVSU Online both in large group and one-on-one sessions at the Faculty Training Lab in Wallace 222.  The Faculty Training Lab is also open for drop-ins at assigned times during the week.  Faculty can check the lab schedule, sign-up for training sessions, or access self-paced tutorials and links to useful downloads at the Faculty Resources project site.  In addition, access to self-paced online training tutorials for certain supported software for faculty can be arranged as needed.

The Center also houses an e-Learning Multimedia Development station (located in Wallace 227) which includes professional video and audio editing programs that faculty can use to either develop a special media project or hone media development skills under the guidance of CIT staff.  Call the Center at x.3170 to make an appointment for use.
Additionally, the Center provides training on the effective design and delivery of online courses.  As faculty become more comfortable with WVSU Online, the emphasis of training programs will shift toward topics dealing with the pedagogical considerations and management of online courses.  To that end, the Center provides a variety of training opportunities, including training workshops conducted by the Sloan Consortium (a nationally recognized leader in online teaching and design practices); in-house training developed by the Center, and mini-workshops developed by experienced online faculty.
 
The Center is also formally offering instructional design services to faculty.  Working with faculty, the Center can assist with and provide ideas regarding instructional design, material development, QM alignment, etc.  Instructional design services will focus primarily on a few targeted courses at first and will expand as staffing and time allows.
 
Quality Matters Initiative
In June 2012, WVSU affiliated with the national Quality Matters program as part of a statewide initiative sponsored by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC).  The QM program is based on improvement of online courses and is a peer-reviewed, faculty driven process.  The Center will be using QM rubric as a springboard from which to build a larger campus initiative for quality online teaching.  On-campus QM training sessions will continue through the Fall 2012 semester (see the Faculty Resources site for more information including the Quality Matters Rubric).

Evaluation of New Technologies
As technology changes rapidly, knowing which software or hardware to use in a course can be overwhelming.  To aid faculty and to determine what works and what doesn’t the Center systematically researches instructional technology trends, advances, best practices, and lessons learned as shared by the higher education community.   The Center also reviews new software and hardware for their application in the online classroom.  This allows the Center to report on what works to faculty and provide guidance in the areas of instructional design and online teaching.

Academic Computer Hardware and Software
The Center also works with faculty, administrators, and University Information Technology to develop the specifications, order, and distribute faculty replacement computers.  Pending the availability of funds and the status of equipment, faculty computers are on a five-year replacement schedule.  Computer evaluation for replacement occurs during the Fall semester, and replacement computers are distributed to faculty throughout the Spring.  The Center can also provide consultation regarding hardware evaluation for special projects as time allows.

Contact Us
For more information about the services provided at the Center, please contact:

Dr. Thomas Kiddie
Director
Center for Online Learning
227 Wallace Hall
(304) 766-3170
tkiddie@wvstateu.edu

Crysty Linkenhoker
Instructional Designer
222 Wallace Hall
clinkenh@wvstateu.edu
304-766-3300
 


 

©2014 West Virginia State University  |  P.O. Box 1000 Institute, WV 25112-1000  |  (800) 987-2112 | Mobile Site | Webmaster