Instructional support & coaching
In an effort to serve students unable to attend classes on campus, public universities are moving their high demand courses online. This is the most rapidly developing trend in higher education. Academic Partnerships (AP) assists exclusively public universities in converting their traditional courses into an online format, recruits highly qualified students into these programs, and supports enrolled students throughout their learning processes. AP’s recruiting efforts for public universities have led to more growth in individual programs than has been achieved by other service providers in the higher education sector. The online students AP has recruited most often comprise 20 percent or more of the university’s total enrollment within 24 months. To assist our partners with making the most of existing faculty resources, one model AP suggests is the use of teaching assistants, instructional associates or academic coaches. These coaches help the instructor by grading assignments, leading or participating in online discussion forums, making announcements to students on behalf of the faculty or university, and performing other related functions to support instruction in an online classroom. The course professor, or instructor of record, is responsible for course content and leading the course. Coaches act as facilitators in the course, helping students make the transition from “being taught” to “active learning,” which better describes what happens in distance learning. Instructional Connections, Inc. (IC) is an integrated provider of high quality instructional support services to colleges and universities, which offer online courses and degree programs. Universities work with IC to support the delivery of online courses and degree programs at a substantially more affordable cost. IC helps university partners manage and scale online classrooms so that distance education is affordable and of the highest quality. The Academic Coaching Model allows the ability to increase course offerings for high demand courses, thus students will be able to enroll in classes they need without deferment due to course caps. Instructional Connections employs Academic Coaches (AKA “Teaching Assistants” or “Instructional Associates”), who directly support the Faculty of Record in online classrooms. Each Academic Coach is a highly qualified, experienced practitioner in their field of study, and has earned a graduate or doctoral degree from an accredited university. Academic Coaches grade assignments, manage discussion threads, handle announcements, and manage the day to day issues at the direction of the faculty. This enables the faculty of record to focus on delivery of course curriculum. Academic Coaches are degree qualified vs. traditional Graduate Teaching Assistants on a traditional campus who are students working toward an advanced degree. Coaches are facilitators vs. traditional online classes where faculty member is more typically the sole support for students. Academic Coaches have a mastery of the subject area and are experienced practitioners in their fields.