TILT and CSU Online Collaboration

The Partners

Working in partnership with CSU Online, TILT provides support for the development of courses delivered online. That support includes strategic partnership with colleges and departments on the selection of courses, collaboration with instructional designers during the development and continued enhancement of courses, and implementation of instructional technologies that foster learning.

CSU Online Program Directors work with faculty to seek approval of courses and with TILT Instructional Designers to create a development schedule. Faculty create the course syllabus and identify key materials supporting engagement. Materials developers, with the guidance of instructional designers, work with faculty to develop course materials and assessments.

The long standing relationship between TILT and CSU Online was recently strengthened through the appointment of Dr. Michael Palmquist to a new position as Associate Provost for Instructional Innovation that brings the two units under one leadership role. This structure enhances support of CSU's mission, delivering the highest quality of instruction by drawing on expertise from staff at both CSU Online and TILT.

The two units work together to focus on development of courses that challenge students, particularly working to help faculty use active learning strategies, engaging activities, and instructional technology in ways best suited to each course offering.

The Process

The process to create a distance or online course typically begins through conversation between the department and CSU Online program director about how the course will assist student progress toward a degree or other educational goal. After the course is scheduled for development, the faculty member or instructor and TILT instructional designer form a working team charged with completion of the course within a semester. Faculty are asked to develop learning outcomes, and identify and create key materials that support students' reaching these outcomes.

Instructional designers assist with creating instructional materials and assessments, implement effective technology solutions designed to foster learning, describe best uses of the learning management system, provide guidance on copyright compliance and intellectual property, assure course accessibility, and serve as project managers guiding the faculty member or instructor throughout the semester.

The goal of these teams is to create high quality courses that engage students in the exploration and mastery of current knowledge and techniques in a given field. A key issue is moving from a contact-hours approach to an "engagement time" approach. To support that end, instructional designers work with faculty to create materials that support mastery learning, active learning, and self-assessment of progress. Care is taken, as well, to create learning communities within each class, often through the use of web-based communication and collaboration tools.

Key challenges facing the faculty and staff working on the next generation of online courses include sifting through the ever-growing array of teaching and learning apps and software to find those that work, fair compensation of faculty, assignment of intellectual property, and designation of resources to support course development.