OCTC’s Mission

As funding for higher education diminishes and student populations continue to change, the OCTC seeks to enact best practices for sharing resources across public institutions of higher education. We believe that all students at all types of Ohio institutions deserve a quality education from well-prepared faculty who support their success as citizens and professionals in a democracy.

Thus, our mission is to provide a means by which higher ed institutions across Ohio can pool their expertise and resources in order to support Ohio faculty and instructional staff in teaching, as well as course and program design. OCTC seeks to provide a space for sharing and facilitating faculty development workshops, seminars, lectures, and mini-conferences; sharing other written and video resources; and awarding endorsements on pressing issues in higher education (currently, OCTC offers the Endorsement for Inclusive Teaching).

OCTC’s Guiding Principles

The OCTC firmly believes that all students deserve equal access to innovative learning environments, and to be supported in their efforts as learners. In addition, all students, regardless of the tuition they pay or the type of institution they attend, deserve the opportunity to engage in meaningful learning opportunities that help them become critical, active thinkers and problem-solvers. 

For faculty to design such learning environments, it is important for them to understand research-based principles of learning, including: 

  • Learning is an inherently social process that leads to change in knowledge, and is supported by practice, feedback, and intentional scaffolding;
  • Students’ prior knowledge can help or hinder learning. Transfer of learning to new situations (assignments, classrooms, workplace) is challenging but can be aided by transfer-encouraging pedagogical choices. 
  • How students organize knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they know. 
  • Experts think differently about problems than novices, and novices need assistance in seeing patterns, organizing their knowledge, making connections, and retrieving useful information for the current context. 
  • Students’ motivation generates, directs, and sustains what they do to learn.
  • To develop mastery, students must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply what they have learned. 
  • Goal-directed practice coupled with target feedback are critical to learning. 
  • Students’ current level of development interacts with the social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the course to impact learning. 
  • To become self-directed learners, students must learn to assess the demands of the task, evaluate their own knowledge and skills, plan their approach, monitor their progress, and adjust their strategies as needed. 

See: How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching by Susan Ambrose, Michael Bridges, Marsha Lovett, Michele DiPietro, and Marie Norman and How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School by National Research Council

About the OCTC

The OCTC is led by a team of faculty development leaders from across Ohio. OCTC provides a venue by which institutions can share faculty development resources. Our goal is to support faculty members in their efforts to provide a quality education for all students, and to support student success in meaningful ways in classrooms, programs, and beyond. 

The OCTC is composed of representatives from the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the Ohio Faculty Senate for Technical and Community Colleges, the Inter-University Faculty Council, and state colleges/universities and their centers or offices for teaching and learning.

As of 2022, the OCTC is coordinated through Miami University’s Roger & Joyce Howe Center for Writing Excellence.

OCTC was initially formed in the spring of 2020 as the Ohio Professional Development Network to respond to increased demands on post-secondary instructors to teach remotely during the pandemic; budgetary challenges experienced by many Ohio colleges and universities that impact breadth or depth of professional development offerings; enrollment trends that require instructors to respond to the needs of an increasingly diverse student population; and recognition of the excellent programming that many Ohio institutions provide.

The first OCTC partners gathered in a reading room at Thompson Library on the campus of Ohio State University to discuss the possibility of collaborating to bring professional learning opportunities to instructors across the state of Ohio using a Teaching Endorsements model first envisioned by former Ohio State University Institute for Teaching and Learning Director Dr. Kay Halasek.

In the summer of 2022, Dr. Elizabeth Wardle (Director of the Howe Center for Writing Excellence at Miami University) stepped in to chair the OCTC Planning Committee. With support from other HCWE staff members (including Assistant Director for Writing Across the Curriculum Dr. Mandy Olejnik, Communications Coordinator Josh Louis, and Data and Budget Coordinator Gail Stout), Wardle and the Planning Committee began expanding OCTC’s scope.

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