Virtual School Meanderings

May 27, 2021

May 2021 Issue of From the Vineyard

A newsletter from this online learning organization.

Dear MERLOT Community Member,

Attached, please find the May 2021 issue of the MERLOT newsletter “From the Vineyard.”

We are proud to distribute this newsletter three times a year to MERLOT members.

We hope you enjoy it.



Attachment: 5_2021_Vineyard.pdf

December 3, 2020

Stephen’s Web ~ OLDaily – December 02, 2020 / Professional Development for Online Teaching: A Literature Review

This item came through my inbox yesterday, it was the first item in one of Stephen’s Web ~ OLDaily.

Sparrow Logo


by Stephen Downes
December 02, 2020

Professional Development for Online Teaching: A Literature Review

Heather learning, Dec 02, 2020


According to this review (22 page PDF) of selected, filtered and codified research papers, “the highest areas of focus within the research questions related to the PD program itself, implementation, instructors, and helping  the instructor design a quality course.” Meanwhile another major thread “examined instructor perceptions, outcomes, and characteristics.” Interestingly, “the PD program itself should be the largest focus of universities seeking to improve professional development at their institutions.” This actually makes sense; if you can’t get professional development right, you probably shouldn’t be advising people on how to do professional development. Additionally, “the type of professional development and  the content within it should rely heavily on the needs of the participants at a given institution.” I say this about learning generally, but somehow get a lot of pushback.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

The details for this article are below.

Heather Leary, Cade Dopp, Chad Turley, Matthew Cheney, Zach Simmons, Charles R. Graham, Riley Hatch


The growth of online learning has created a need for instructors who can competently teach online. This literature review explores the research questions, program recommendations, and future research suggestions related to professional development for online instructors. Articles were selected and coded based on date of publication and the context of the professional development. Results indicate that most research questions focused on (a) professional development programs, (b) instructors, and (c) instructors’ online courses. Most program recommendations focused on (a) professional development programs, (b) context of professional development, and (c) instructors’ activity during professional development. Future recommendations for research topics focused on professional development programs and instructors, while future recommendations for research methods focused on research design and institutional settings. The findings suggest that while professional development for online instructors is important, consistency in both design and delivery is lacking. Future research is needed to provide guidance to programs, instructors, and institutions leading to satisfaction and success for more online students.


Professional development, Teacher development, Instructor development, Teaching online

Full Text:


October 1, 2020

425+ sessions propel your online learning at OLC Accelerate + Velocity 2020

This conference may be of interest to some readers.

To view this email as a web page, click here

Register for OLC Accelerate + Velocity 2020 today, preview of keynote speaker, program guide, Exposition Foundry and more. .
OLC Accelerate 2020 - Accelerating Online Education Worldwide

OLC Accelerate November 9-18, 2020
OLC Velocity November 18-20, 2020

Dear %%first_name%%,

It is a pivotal moment in online learning and a year unlike any other. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to attend OLC’s Accelerate + Velocity 2020, collectively one of the largest and most impactful gatherings of the online learning community.

Thank you to our sponsors.
More than 425 sessions have been announced and highlights include:
Flower Darby - Keynote Speaker

Keynote Speaker

Flower Darby celebrates and promotes excellent teaching for the sake of our students and their learning as Director of Teaching for Student Success at Northern Arizona University.

Exposition Foundry

Exposition Foundry

An informal collaborative space that brings our community together to design and implement change work around online, blended and digital learning.

Pre-Conference Workshops

Pre-conference Workshops

Hands-on instruction around A/R and V/R in education, humanizing online learning, learning engineering in academic and workplace settings to extend data enable decision-making, UDL and best practices in online pedagogy, and our IELOL Master Class.

Lightening Talks

Lightning Talks

Lightning talks, informal networking, and sessions on topics such as competency-based education, instructional design, servant leadership and crisis management, temperament-inclusive pedagogy, and quality assessment.



Immersive day-long convenings featuring critical topics and provocations from thought leaders in our field: Instructional Design, Research and Leadership.

Start customizing your agenda using our full program guide here.
On-demand access of all recorded virtual sessions is provided to onsite and virtual attendees for one (1) year post-conference.
Discounts are available for OLC members and for groups of three or more. Considering registration for all sessions is about the cost of one typical workshop outside of the conference; it’s an incredible value.

Registration or program questions? Contact the OLC Conference Team

Does your institution already have an unlimited pass? to find out. Campuswide passes are available, providing unlimited access to virtual sessions and recordings.

Calling for Speakers for OLC Innovate + Velocity 2021

OLC and MERLOT want you to share your experience with thousands in our community at OLC Innovate + Velocity 2021. Get recognized for your leadership in online learning. Deadline for proposals extended to 10/7.

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Copyright 2020, All rights reserved.

The Chronicle | 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20037

This is Corporate Sponsor Content presented by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inc.
All content is provided by Online Learning Consortium.

July 29, 2020

Free Online Conference: OLC Ideate Labs For Online STEM: Innovating STEM Education 2020

This professional learning opportunity may be of interest to some readers.

Dear MERLOT Community Member,

We are excited to invite you to a FREE online conference focused on sharing exemplary practices for teaching online STEM labs. There are many technologies and strategies that can complement and substitute for face-to-face STEM labs that are no longer viable due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The attached letter of invitation (PDF) provides more information about the three-day FREE virtual event and how to register and participate. Please share this invitation with your colleagues who might be interested as well (and don’t forget to invite them to join MERLOT).

Stay well, take care, and cheers,


Attachment: olc-ideate-labs-for-online-stem.pdf

June 16, 2020

Develop An Effective Online Course Development Process Outline

Like I say at some point most days these days (although a little less these past few weeks), I’m getting a backlog in items that I want to post, so I’ll start posting them more frequently for the rest of the day.

An item from the Online Learning Consortium.

OLC’s Instructional Designer Certificate Program guides faculty through the online course design and development process.

Learn, Improve, and Apply

The goal of the Instructional Designer Certificate Program is to help instructional designers build or refine their skills in working with faculty during the course design and development process.

“Anyone in an instructional designer or similar role can significantly benefit from the ID Certificate Program,” said Flower Darby, Senior Instructional Designer and Adjunct Faculty at Northern Arizona University. “Whether new to the position or more experienced, there is something for everyone in these workshops. The content and activities are highly relevant.”  Read more about Flower’s experience.

Throughout the four 4-week courses, you will:

  • learn strategies and gain resources for guiding faculty through the course design/development process,
  • analyze learning/instructional theories and instructional methods,
  • assess needs for online course resources, identify ways to stay current with emerging best practices, and
  • become qualified in applying the OSCQR rubric and process.

The courses in this program can be taken together for the overall certificate, or taken as separate professional development offerings. Sign up for the August cohort today!

“Robust and well designed, the content and activities I experienced in the Instructional Designer Certificate Program continue to benefit me in practical ways every day on the job.”

-Flower Darby, Senior Instructional Designer and Adjunct Faculty,
Northern Arizona University


Upcoming Institute Programs

Creating Rubrics
Neuro, Cognitive and Learning Sciences, Part II: Applying Theory to Practice
Designing Game-Based Learning
Creating Infographics for Learning
Demystifying Artificial Intelligence
Copyright & Fair Use, Part 2: From Court Decisions to “Best Practices”
Exploring Interactive Video Tools


Applying the Neuro, Cognitive, and Learning Sciences to Instructional Design
Introduction to Research Methods for the Instructional Design Community
Project Management for Instructional Designers
Data Stories: An Introduction to Data Visualization


Online Teaching Certificate
Advanced Online Teaching Certificate
Instructional Designer Certificate


New to Online, Essentials Part I: Getting Started
Strategic Planning for Web Accessibility
Strategies to Improve Retention
Introduction to LX Design Methods, Part 3: Prototyping
Adaptive Learning Fundamentals and Courseware Exploration
New to Online, Essentials Part II: Converting Your Course
Strategies to Implement Augmented & Virtual Reality in Education
Fundamentals: ADA & Web Accessibility
Creating Effective Assessments

Blended Learning
Instructional Design
Leadership in Online Learning
Online Nursing


OLC Innovate | June 15 – 26 (Virtual)
OLC Accelerate | Nov 17-20 (Orlando, FL – Onsite & Virtual)

Enjoy discounted pricing ($100+ savings) on all OLC workshops. Learn More.
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