Instructors at Eastern Recognized for Designing, Reviewing Online Courses

A cohort of instructors at Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College are the first to participate in an internal peer-review system that has led to two courses earning Eastern Online Course Excellence certification.

Eastern has implemented a variety of professional development programs to help instructors learn about and adopt best practices for designing online courses. One important element of this process is Eastern’s subscription to Quality Matters™ (QM), a non-profit organization that provides a research-based framework for assessing the effectiveness of online course design.

Nikki Chandler, a math instructor, served as peer reviewer for online courses designed by Leslie Laschinger, religion instructor, and Debi Layton, psychology instructor. Laschinger’s Introduction to Comparative Religions and Layton’s Life-Span Developmental Psychology courses both earned Eastern Online Course Excellence certification in October.

Laschinger, a University of Georgia and Harvard University graduate who lives in the Atlanta area, has developed and taught online courses at Eastern since 2015. “I appreciate the feedback the reviewer gave … and have already implemented a number of her suggestions,” she said. Laschinger also said that she intends to submit her course for an official QM review in the next year.

Layton, of Old Fields, started her education at Eastern before also earning degrees from Regent University and American Public University. She began teaching at Eastern in 2019. “This [process] has really been educational in helping me improve my online course,” she said.

Chandler, a Petersburg native who joined Eastern in 2019, is a graduate of the University of Mt. Olive and Texas A&M University. She is also working on an additional graduate degree from West Virginia University in Instructional Design and Technology. “I believe the peer review process is beneficial for everyone involved,” Chandler said. “I’ve gained so much insight into how my own courses function from being a peer reviewer, and I hope the course creators have had an equally positive experience.”