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by Bob Goldberg
(Associate Professor, English)

Did you know that the Prince George’s Community College distance learning program is accredited by Middle States? Did you know that PGCC offers six degrees and four certificate programs online? And, did you know that our Online Express was highlighted as the Maryland Association for Higher Education’s Distinguished Program Award for 2001 and was recognized nationally by the American Association for Community Colleges? Do you know what Online Express is?

Online Express is the college’s faculty training program for distance learning. This nationally recognized training program teaches faculty how to develop courses for distance learning, and how to use our distance learning delivery system, Blackboard. Prior to coming to PGCC, I had already experienced teaching online courses using Blackboard. However, my training was minimal. In fact, everything I learned about teaching online came from within: I was self-taught.

However, in order to teach online classes at PGCC, I was required to take the Online Express workshop designed for those who will be teaching previously developed courses (another workshop exists for those who are developing brand new online courses). While some of the information was a refresher, I learned a sufficient amount of new material to make my online experience fruitful for both my students and me. I learned not only how to use the technology, but how to integrate my material to make it more accessible for my students. I also learned how to more effectively integrate my students into their learning process by using Blackboard’s Discussion Forum. And, in my first experience teaching online at PGCC, I was amazed at the level of participation of my class, especially through online discussions.

If you have not already taken the Online Express workshop and are interested in teaching online, I highly recommend it. If you have thought about teaching online, but are nervous about doing so, this workshop will alleviate your anxiety. If you have not thought about teaching online, do it! What an experience! Yes, teaching online can take more energy, and more time, but it offers a completely new perspective on teaching and learning, and it is the wave of the near future.

I would like to thank Mary Wells, our award-winning director of Distance Learning, for making my Online Express experience practical, beneficial, and yes, even fun (we were provided candy at one of our workshop sessions). She has recently sent out an e-mail regarding Online Express, which also included application forms. She has a wealth of knowledge, and a desire to impart that knowledge to willing faculty. If you have the slightest interest in teaching online, talk with your department chair, and then contact Mary Wells (301-386-7582 or to make it happen.


The Instructional Area Newsletter, Volume 19, No. 3

Spring 2004