The Partnership of The Virtual Instructor Team and The On-Site Teacher/Facilitator

Aleta May

Initial Blog Post Week 7

February 27, 2014

EDTE674 with Dr. Lee Graham

Week 7–Essential Question: What will you require of the instructors who teach the course you design? Why?

Since this credit recovery course may be taken at various times of the summer across the state of Alaska, there is no guarantee that the instructor at the site will have access to other students for their own students to blog with.  Additionally, the modules will be designed for the American Literature class to be taken on an as needed basis.  Therefore, students may be in different modules even within one school site.

This credit recovery class will be designed to be as independently user friendly as possible.  The on-site adults who will facilitate the course, may be paraprofessionals; particularly if the course is offered at a site where a lot of students are participating at the same time with only one certified professional who guides the process for many.  It is possible that the certified professional will be on site guiding the Algebra I credit recovery class simultaneously with the American Literature course.

This credit recovery course can be considered to be at least a partial blended course design Grading using the rubrics designed for each major standard addressed in order to create continuity across districts in Alaska.  Beyond assuring that there is consistency in assessment between site facilitators, “a sufficient number of tasks must be included to provide stable estimates of student performance” (p. 592).  When there are enough samples collected, such as is normal in a traditional face-to-face (F2F) class through a variety of means, there is not much variance in grading between a full F2F class and a blended class.

With the class facilitated in person with and through teaching modules that include activities, the class is as much standards driven as a F2F only class.  The pedagogy of the online delivery will in most cases emulate traditional F2F instructional design, but some strategies are best kept to F2F only, while some strategies are uniquely designed to take advantage of the internet and Blackboard benefits.  Therefore, the onsite facilitator will need to have some basic computer skills to guide students.  Course designers are highly qualified instructors in theses areas:  secondary English teachers, an educational specialist (for making adaptations), and using demonstration strategies.   The instructors in this case are a team, and their role is to “support and assist each student as he or she interacts with the content and converts it into personal knowledge” (Moore and Kearsley, 2012, p. 132).   ADDIE (analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation) is a model that is being used to design the American Literature course. During the Design stage of ADDIE, instructional strategies are the focus (Shibley, Amaral, Shank, and Shibley, 2011).  Instructor-designers will not be there in person, but through video clips, podcasts, PowerPoints, scaffolded lesssons (to assist English language learners and students with learning disabilities) and likely study guides to go with modules; students should “feel” the presence and care of a learner-instructor and learner-content interaction.

During the development stage of ADDIE, a lot of time is spent on developing resources.  (Shibley, Amaral, et. al.).  Overall, a module can include a guide that has an outline of contents and sub-content lessons.  A module guide may include a glossary of vocabulary terms with content friendly definitions, video clips, animations, graphics and primary sources that are referred to in the lesson.  So even if a student is introduced to a term during a PowerPoint, they can still find it in the glossary for writing assignments.  Action items are a key component of the development stage where reading, note taking, and essays are taught to students (as they apply learning along the way as assigned).

Implementation of the assignments is the responsibility of the facilitator to oversee.  This responsibility includes making sure the student spends the time completing learning activities, and uploads assignments or grades the assignment and returns some assignments to the student for correction.  Also, if more than one student at a site is completing the same module, the facilitator may allow one peer to assist another peer, or develop an assignment together.

In conclusion, the primary responsibility of the course delivery is the team of teachers designing the course.  The on-site facilitators’ responsibilities are to help students understand the structure of the course, access the assignment when there may be confusion about this by the student, oversee student study habits in regards to accessing and truly reading or watching the assignments provided to them, and making sure student complete and turn in assignments for grading.  In this way, the class is a blended design.


Gleason, J. (2013).  An interpretive argument for blended course

design.  Foreign Language Annals 46(4), pp. 588-609.

Moore, M. G. and Kearsley, G. (2012).  Distance education:  A

            systems view of online learning.  Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth-Cengage Learning.

Shibley, I., Amaral, K. E., Shank, J. D., and Shibley, L. R. (2011).  Designing a blended

course:  Using ADDIE to guide instructional design.  Journal of College Science

             Teaching, 40(6).

9 thoughts on “The Partnership of The Virtual Instructor Team and The On-Site Teacher/Facilitator

  1. Tamara Van Wyhe (@tch2lrnak)

    Happy Saturday, Aleta! The first paragraph of your post this week summarizes how complex our task is: “Since this credit recovery course may be taken at various times of the summer across the state of Alaska, there is no guarantee that the instructor at the site will have access to other students for their own students to blog with.  Additionally, the modules will be designed for the American Literature class to be taken on an as needed basis.  Therefore, students may be in different modules even within one school site.” WHEW! Creating a course that fits this bill is far trickier than I originally thought it would be. However, it is a model that could be very useful to AKLN and future courses they contract. I know that in my district, there is demand for credit recovery classes each semester. The trick for us has been in finding credit recovery coursework that is high quality and still provides students with a rigorous experience…while providing them with the support they need to be successful in completing the class. It will certainly be interesting to see how the class actually works with students. I feel confident it will provide them with a terrific opportunity to learn!

    In addition to creating a course that is clear and thorough in terms of its access to teachers, I also think about the e-learning mentors (either in a lab situation, a school library, etc.) who may be supporting students taking our online class and others. I have been looking for resources for our e-learning lab mentors and found an interesting study on the importance of folks to support students who are taking online classes. While the study itself is a worthwhile read, the table that spells out a lab mentor’s roles, responsibilities, and contributions is great (Chang, p. 338-339). I wonder if we should also include resources like this one in a “toolkit” to accompany our course. Hmm.

    I wish you could have attended the ASTE conference this year. I was blown away by the number of sessions focusing on blended learning, online coursework, VTC delivery of content, etc. The ways in which technology is being used to level the playing field for students in Alaska is nothing short of amazing…and it is SO exciting to be an educator right now!

    Chang, S. (2004). The roles of mentors in electronic learning environments. AACE Journal. 12(3), 331-342. Retrieved from

    1. aletakmay Post author

      I looked up the article you referred to and it is awesome the way the roles are set up in an easy to see table format. I downloaded it as it seems like something we could use when our group creates a video tour of the class as Nicole mentioned this was talked about in our group.

      It is an exciting time to be an educator! Rather than “fear” technology, embrace the benefits of it.

  2. jcrocker2

    I know it might be early to be thinking about this, but on-site facilitators will need excellent troubleshooting skills. When I taught online previously, I was always getting phone calls from facilitators whose students were having a hard time logging into the class or any number of other things. Not only do we need to design excellent support materials for the class itself, we need to create a technology troubleshooting guide for the facilitators, or even two of them–one for mac, one for windows. Maybe I should sign up for that and leave the rest of the course design to all of you… 😉

    1. aletakmay Post author

      Thankfully, you have that experience. Your experience is what I visualize happening at our school–or in Bethel when the support staff for technology is gone. If I knew how to design that troubleshooting guide, I would help out. 🙂 Willing to help.
      This coming weekend I will have a long weekend to begin designing…Then you can tell me if it looks like something I should be doing a lot of. I’m thinking of lesson design. Nicole sent me a resource for that–and I am excited to start using it.

      There really are many, many pieces to setting all of this up. I was looking into study guides as well.

  3. hmiller2014

    Hi, It sounds as though your team is using the term “study guides” as I would for instructions on how to complete the course. In my undergrad days, study guides were something the instructor may or may not give out to help students prepare for exams. The syllabus and course outline more or less guided students through what to study and when what assignments were due. That elusive study guide was coveted – the instructors who provided it were admired. High school students, though, need everything spelled out for them, in particular distance ed students, so I see the benefit in guaranteeing that they understand what is expected of them. I’m wondering if you’re considering one big study guide for the whole course or several smaller study guides for different assignments? It’s good to have two courses in development at the same time. Really helpful to see how you are setting your course up so we have something to compare ours to! Thanks for the insight. 🙂

    1. aletakmay Post author

      Hi Helen,

      Thank you –and I am glad to be of assistance!!
      We talked about creating study guides in one of our group sessions, and I believe they will end up being module by module, then compiled. But since students may only need them for certain modules, it may be much less overwhelming to keep them within each module and have the compiled study guide for the course facilitator. Also, Jonathan mentioned that we need to have a troubleshooting guidelines handout, since he has experienced the many calls that come from sites who need help with the things such as opening the course, and the course modules, etc. In my reflection I kind of extended my thinking on that.

  4. monk1ak

    Jon has a good point there. I think that’s where the instructor would truly benefit by “practicing” the course with the perspective of the student in mind… At UAA we are so fortunate to have an amazing IT department that is a quick phone call away. I can’t tell you how many times I have professed my love for a stranger on the other end of the line that has brought resolution to a very frustrating technology issue! 😉
    Aleta, your comment about the student needing to “feel” the presence of the instructor is so importance and dead on! I was just talking to a colleague yesterday about the importance of timely feedback and she commented that there is such a short window to coach a learning opportunity that the moment must be seized immediately. The instructor will need to stay on top of grading, clear, and timely feedback so these kids don’t continue to fall through the cracks yet again! Nice post!!

  5. Pingback: Reflections on The role of the On-Site Teacher/Facilitator | aleta57

  6. Nicole Fuerst

    It appears this has been a great discussion but no one has addressed that our group intends to create a video that is sort of like a tour of the course with a “quiz” that students take at the end to be sure that they get the basics of navigating/participating in the course. I’d like to think that we’d be inviting the co-teachers and the instructors to view the video and take the quiz as well. This does a couple of things…it helps them understand the basics of the course and it allows them to provide feedback on the design.


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