The Coursera Conference Faculty Forum: Challenges and Strategies for Developing and Delivering Online Courses with Limited Faculty Time

By Eli Fogle, Learning Design Consultant

The Faculty Forum at this year’s Coursera Conference was a tremendous success. Our guest panelists were Sarah Dysart from the University of Michigan, John Hart from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Quentin Ruiz-Esparza from Duke University. We had sixteen participants from thirteen different universities in attendance. 

Together, we examined challenges associated with limited faculty time during online course development and delivery and discussed opportunities and strategies for successfully overcoming these issues. 

Some of the main topics we explored in the forum were:

  • how to produce high-quality, engaging video lectures given scarce faculty time
  • approaches for motivating faculty to dedicate the necessary time for course development and delivery
  • ways to address the ongoing lack of post-launch support for faculty to maintain and iterate courses
  • how to correct underestimations around the time commitment for faculty and support staff in both course development and delivery

Over the course of the session, panelists and attendees combined to produce valuable insights and strategies for how to help faculty maximize their time during course development and delivery. Among the ideas that emerged were:

  • allocating project management tasks to project management experts instead of instructional designers or faculty
  • using checklists, regular checkpoints, and constant communication to maintain timelines and consistent standards
  • utilizing instructional designers with specific subject matter expertise to support faculty, especially for STEM content 
  • being transparent  with quality expectations and expected workloads before course development begins
  • creating sandbox courses for faculty to explore, giving them insight into the authoring experience and platform-specific features 
  • leveraging instructional designers or course assistants to monitor content performance dashboards post-launch and make data-driven course improvements

We want to thank our guest panelists for their expertise, experience, and insights, and our attendees for creating and contributing to a dynamic discussion that proved rich with actionable takeaways for all. Coursera Conference continues to offer unparalleled opportunities to bring together a diverse array of experts and perspectives. This session was an excellent example of how we can unite to solve pressing challenges and create impactful new approaches.

For more details on how to develop and deliver high-quality online courses, you can log in to the Coursera Conference website and view the recorded sessions on-demand.


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