Award-winning faculty online teaching practices: Elements of award-winning courses

Swapna Kumar, Florence Martin, Kiran Budhrani, Albert Ritzhaupt


The purpose of this study was to explore award-winning instructors’ insights on elements of their course design that were “award-winning” and the differences between expert and novice online instructors. Interviews were conducted with eight award-winning online faculty members from across the United States who had received online teaching awards from one of three professional associations. The five main areas that emerged from the data analysis were, a) authentic and relevant course materials that connect to practice, b) the use of multimedia resources c) student creation of digital content individually and collaboratively d) students’ reflection on learning and e) the instructor’s explanation of the purpose of activities, technologies and assessments in the online course. Additionally, award-winning faculty emphasized the importance of using data and evaluation practices and reflecting on course offerings in the development of an excellent online course. Award-wining faculty described expert online instructors as being experienced and comfortable in the online environment, using a wide range of strategies, being willing to learn, using data and analytics, and engaged in continuous improvement. The findings add to the literature on best practices and what constitutes excellence in online courses.


Online teaching, Online Instructor, Instructional Design, Course Design, Award-winning faculty

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