Three Wilkes Community College (WCC) instructors presented at the 2017 OLC Accelerate – Accelerating Online Learning Worldwide conference in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, Nov.16.

Meret Burke, English instructor and faculty development facilitator; Dr. Natasha Harris, chair of Arts/Social Sciences/Humanities and lead physical education instructor; and MaryBeth Knight, psychology instructor at the Ashe campus, described one of WCC’s faculty development initiatives in their presentation entitled, “A Low-Tech Approach to High Tech Teaching: An Innovative Faculty Development Program for Online Teachers.”
WCC’s semester-long approach to quality online teaching is entitled CORE, an acronym for Collaborative Online Reflection Experience. The presenters explained how CORE promotes a cross-discipline learning community of faculty peers to increase online teaching skills and ultimately improve student success and retention in online courses. According to Burke, Harris, and Knight, “This approach utilizes the strengths of face-to-face learning environments to apply best practices in online teaching and learning environments.”
As WCC Peer Mentors, Burke, Harris, and Knight have led groups of instructors who teach online in applying best online teaching practices. CORE is focused such quality standards as feedback, instructor presence, course navigability, clear instructions, student engagement, and backward course planning. CORE is a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) initiative, faculty-driven and designed to enhance student learning and/or the learning environment. Preliminary results indicate that CORE has impacted instructor online teaching skills and student online course success. All colleges accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) develop and implement a QEP as part of their reaffirmation. WCC was reaffirmed by SACSCOC in 2016.
The 2017 OLC Accelerate – Accelerating Online Learning Worldwide conference is sponsored by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), “a collaborative community of higher education leaders and innovators dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner – anyone, anywhere, anytime.”
Wilkes Community College, a member of the North Carolina Community College System, is a public, two-year, open-door institution serving the people of Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany counties and beyond. Established in 1965, WCC continues to build on a strong history of meeting the educational needs and cultural interests of our students, community and workforce. WCC prepares learners for success in a dynamic world.