Kentucky Community and Technical College System: Boot Camp for Hybrid Course Design

Juli Gatling Book and Leah Parsons Simpson
Member Spotlight

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) Office of Online Learning developed a Boot Camp for hybrid course design meant to help faculty with little to no experience in an online setting to rapidly design hybrid courses. KCTCS Online shared an open access version of this training for use at other institutions for the first time at the department’s “Free PD: Come for the Free, Stay for the Why” session at the 2021 Innovations Conference.

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed many faculty members into a new teaching reality. Designed to help faculty quickly acclimate to online and hybrid course instruction, the boot camp focuses on the most relevant and impactful aspects of teaching online. It is a four-day online facilitated experience that helps faculty to rapidly design a hybrid course. Facilitators act as mentors and allow for one-on-one conversations specific to each person's design preferences and desires. Faculty maintain access to their facilitator for three weeks, allowing for essential follow-up (Carbonaro et al., 2002). Research shows that faculty prefer training that can be directly applied to their teaching (Steinert et al., 2009), and the boot camp is designed to provide faculty with authentic learning experiences. When a tool is presented, how-to resources are provided. Each time faculty learn a new component of the learning management system (LMS), they apply it to a sandbox course.

Using a sandbox course allows participants to put a skill into practice, while also helping them to quickly create their hybrid course. Providing a space for faculty to test their skills is an important best practice for developing hybrid/online teaching skills (Lorenzetti, 2009). For instance, faculty receive step-by-step guidance on how to make an introduction video that is properly captioned. They are then introduced to LMS functions when given a task to create a related course item in their sandbox course. In addition to learning the LMS, this process builds faculty confidence in the skills needed to develop accessible video content. At KCTCS, 91 percent of participants who reported back said they had used or planned to use captioned videos.

Facilitation helps support rapid course and skill development by building faculty confidence as they see their course take shape. As one boot camp facilitator noted, “I like to help when I can see the immediate results. Not everything I do to help shows results that soon.” Faculty also appreciate immediate results, with 95 percent of respondents saying they would attend another boot camp. Quick results are important when addressing one of the major hurdles to faculty development attendance: time constraints in their schedules (Dailey-Hebert et al., 2014). Immersive training like this boot camp is a practical way to develop faculty in a short period of time.

In line with the best practice of creating a wide range of format offerings (Elliot et al., 2015), KCTCS Online Learning plans to develop boot camps in synchronous—both four-day and four-week options—and asynchronous versions. The latter is especially important in meeting the needs of adjunct instructors (Lorenzetti, 2009). As part of a wider suite of resources, KCTCS will use this model when technology training can be paired with course building, as the combination helps faculty more efficiently and effectively build skills than if theory and practice were offered separately.

The KCTCS boot camp allows for rapid course design while having a highly positive impact on instructor confidence, course quality, and student experience. It has been so well received throughout the system that it has been mentioned as the desired training modality in unrelated surveys, and another boot camp is being developed as a result. If you would like to offer the Boot Camp for Hybrid Course Design at your own institution, or look over the course for ideas, use this link to request access. The boot camp is a Blackboard Learn Ultra-based training, but could be modified for other LMSs. KCTCS Online Learning is sharing the content under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license.


Carbonaro, M., Snart, F. & Goodale, C. (2002). Faculty of education professional development. In D. Willis et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 634-638). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education.

Dailey-Hebert, A., Mandernach, B. J., Donnelli-Sallee, E., & Norris, V. R. (2014). Expectations, motivations, and barriers to professional development: Perspectives from adjunct instructors teaching online. Journal of Faculty Development, 28, 67-82.

Elliot, M., Rhoades, N., Jackson, C. M., & Mandernach, B. J. (2015). Professional development: Designing initiatives to meet the needs of online faculty. Journal of Educators Online, 12(1).

Lorenzetti, J. (2009). Developing faculty competency in online pedagogy. Distance Education Report, 13(18), 5-8.

Steinert, Y., McLeod, P. J., Boillat, M., Meterissian, S., Elizov, M., & Macdonald, M. (2009). Faculty development: a ‘Field of Dreams’? Medical Education, 43(1), 42-49. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2008.03246.x

Dr. Juli Gatling Book is Manager, Online Learning Special Initiatives, and Dr. Leah Parsons Simpson is Executive Director, Online Learning, at KCTCS in Versailles, Kentucky.

Opinions expressed in Member Spotlight are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the League for Innovation in the Community College.