Conference Objects and Presentations (Communicative Events)

Sharing online pedagogical practices: A global virtual collaboration & learning opportunity project

Marquart, Matthea S.; Marshall, Lia W.

These are the slides from a session for the 2023 Social Work Distance Education Conference #SWDE2023.

Session description:
The Online Campus team at Columbia University’s School of Social Work created a collaboratively written, free ebook to build online educators’ skills in designing synchronous class sessions that are interactive and inclusive. Chapters were authored by 40+ online educators located around the globe, including adjunct and full time faculty, TAs, and technical support specialists. This project is an example of a global learning exchange. So far, the 1,000+ readers have been located in 19 countries. [Note: as of April 6, 2023, the updated data is 2,400 readers in 60 countries and 29,600 views of the book (the abstract was written in October 2022).]

In this oral presentation, we propose to share an example of a global virtual collaboration and learning exchange: a project creating a new, free ebook that shares practical exercises for inclusive online teaching. We will share the project planning, logistics, and outcomes, along with our recommendations for others who would like to do a similar project.

This ebook was created with no budget, as the ebook platform is free with no ads, and everyone involved volunteered their time, which is common in academic publishing. For social workers, contributing to the field of online education appeals to our profession’s service-oriented values and code of ethics, and creating a free resource that can be used widely speaks to the Columbia University School of Social Work’s mission, which includes “to foster social work education, practice, and research that strengthen and expand the opportunities, resources, and capabilities of all persons to achieve their full potential and well-being.” It also speaks to Columbia University’s mission, which expects “...all areas of the University to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.”

The book has the potential for a much wider impact than solely for our program. It is focused on teaching in the Adobe Connect web conferencing platform, but the ideas in the book can easily be adapted to any synchronous platform. Chapter topics apply to different aspects of teaching online to students located around the world, including techniques for teaching students located in different geographical areas and timezones, and building community across distance. As a free open resource, we anticipate that it will be used by educators around the world. In its first month, the book had already had 2,600 views, and in just a few months, views have gone up to over 5,000, with 19 countries represented so far.

Over the past six years of offering faculty development, our program’s online educators have consistently expressed that their favorite parts of trainings have been learning from each other. Therefore, we needed to include the voices of adjunct and full time faculty, TAs, technical support specialists, and alumni. We invited our program’s online educators to write chapters that share synchronous teaching activities they have found impactful, and this embedded the opportunity to learn from peers in our community.

The book is available on the interactive ebook platform, including as audio files for each chapter, and the platform is compatible with mobile devices. For those with lower Internet bandwidth, the book is downloadable as one large ebook PDF or as separate chapter PDFs -- these different options for reading are an example of accommodating different levels of Internet access in different regions of the world.

The slides include quotes from Adeline Medeiros, Aparna Samuel Balasundaram, Christine D. Holmes, Katherine Segal, Kristin Garay, and Rebecca Y. Chung, and include slide content from Suzan Koseoglu, Royce Kimmons, and Jennifer Ramsey; used with permission.

The free ebook discussed in the presentation, Designing Engaging and
Interactive Synchronous Online Class Sessions, can be found here:

More info about this book can be found here:


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Published Here
April 11, 2023


Marquart, M. & Marshall, L. (2023, April 13). Sharing online pedagogical practices: A global virtual collaboration & learning opportunity project. Presentation for the Social Work Distance Education Conference. Online via Whova & Zoom.