Faculty involved in the process of either developing or delivering instruction through distance education is encouraged to meet regularly with the instructional technology staff. Communication is initiated by the office of instructional technology as soon as the faculty member is identified as a distance educator. During the first stage of the process, faculty reviews the Assumptions of the Principles of Good Practice and completes the course proposal template along with the Online Course Procedures and Agreement Summary. After the initial meeting, subsequent meetings are scheduled throughout the duration of the course. Support services include training on the eLearning platform, software applications, graphics and design, and video editing. Support services are available to faculty during regular office hours, evenings, and on weekends.
Faculty members teaching at a distance receive an email notification before the beginning of the semester informing them of upcoming trainings. Training schedules are available at https://trainings.tamiu.edu/ and publicized in the eLearning, Office of Information Technology (OIT) and Uconnect (TAMIU’s Portal) webpages. Aside from scheduled trainings, faculty may request training in a variety of formats: individual face to face, individual virtually through web conferencing, small or large group.
Sharing sessions exemplifying best practices in teaching at a distance as well as emerging technologies are scheduled during our annual Distance Education Week in the month of November and once a semester in scheduled Instructional Technology Fairs. The Office of Instructional Technology also maintains an FAQ forum inside of its eLearning system (Learning Management System) to provide information to new and seasoned faculty members on technical and design questions previously addressed by any of the instructional technology staff members.
Aside from the services offered on site, faculty members teaching at a distance have the option to participate in a continuing education program that focuses primarily in online learning and topics that pertain to effectively delivering instruction in the online environment. This six week program is aligned with the national standards for quality online teaching established by iNACOL (www.inacol.org) and is offered totally online through Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development. Faculty members that successfully complete the program are awarded a Virtual Instructor Certificate and continuing education units from Texas A&M University.
Faculty members that teach using ITVC obtain training on the use and manipulation of the videoconferencing system. Training also includes instructions and information on how to prepare their lesson materials for this type of delivery. A training manual for faculty members teaching using ITVC may be found in the eLearning page at http://www.tamiu.edu/elearning/TTVN.shtml. Technical assistance is provided before the beginning of every class meeting. In order to prevent technical difficulties, connection is established at least 30 minutes before the beginning of class. Also, a site facilitator is procured at each distant site to serve as technical support and education liaison.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has supported the creation of four online professional development modules for educators across Texas that are now available 24/7 for full-time and adjunct faculty members to use on demand. These modules consist of instruction examples, teaching tips, recommended reading, current pedagogical scholarship, active learning teaching strategies, and classroom activities and are designed to improve higher education instruction particularly for new faculty and/or faculty teaching introductory level courses. Use of these professional development modules is free of charge and you are welcome to link to them on your own pages. To view these resources, visit the TXProfDev.org page.
At the faculty request, orientation sessions are scheduled with his/her class at the beginning of the semester. These sessions may take place on campus or at a distance and cover a number of topics to include basic navigation of the eLearning Management System, access to class materials, participation in communication and discussion forums, and technical support. Sessions are scheduled on campus at convenient times for both faculty and students.
Faculty seeking assistance with proctoring of exams for students who cannot test on campus should contact the director of the Testing Center at 956-326-2888 or at ZSC 201C. Requests for reservations of computer facilities for proctoring of exams should be made by writing to the Student Success Manager or by calling extension 956-326-2247. Special arrangements for proctoring of exams at a distance will be provided by the Testing Center in cooperation with the Office of Instructional Technology and Distance Education Services.
Checkout procedures are in place to procure faculty with equipment and software applications needed to deliver instruction at a distance. Lecture-capture, podcast, and vodcast services are available for faculty members that wish to pre-record their lecture and upload it to their course shell.
Inventory for distance education equipment is conducted annually between February and March. Instructional technology staff is responsible for keeping track of every piece of equipment. Checkout forms are reconciled periodically against inventory and obsolete equipment is identified and removed from our logs. Equipment is replaced following the university’s refresh plan or earlier if an upgrade deems appropriate.