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Online Professional Development

Online Professional Development
Design, Deliver, Succeed!

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June 2011 | 208 pages | Corwin

Much-needed direction for navigating online professional development

Although many educators are on the fast track to embracing online professional development (OPD), choosing the best solution is not as simple as pushing a button. OPD expert John D. Ross's practical framework will guide you through asking the right questions and making sound development and purchasing decisions. The book's process is founded on proven principles of professional learning and instructional design. You will benefit from others' experience and expertise while efficiently charting a cost-effective course to success. This reader-friendly guide provides a path to answering these fundamental questions:

  • Why online professional development?
  • How much does it cost?
  • How do I get started?
  • What does high-quality online learning look like?
  • What technologies are right for me?
  • How do I put it all together?
  • Did it work?

Included are an OPD decision matrix, a step-by-step planning and implementation framework, "buyer beware" guidelines, and real-life case studies from successful OPD providers. Whether you want to purchase or create OPD, this time-saving resource will help you understand your financial options and confidently chart your course to success.

About the Author
1. Why Online Professional Development?
The OPD Framework

Asking the Right Questions

Why Online Professional Development

Caveat Emptor: Talking to Vendors

Determining Your Need for Online Professional Development

Take Action: Conduct a Needs Assessment and Create Your Vision


2. How Much Does It Cost?

Take Action: Determine Your Desired Outcomes

Measuring Your Outcomes



Required Technology

Ease of Use


Caveat Emptor: Supporting Your Outcomes

Economies of Scale


Take Action: Set Your Mission

3. How Do I Get Started?
Take Inventory

Caveat Emptor: Facilitation Models

Caveat Emptor: Partnering for Success


Take Action: Gap Analysis to Describe Your Needs

4. What Does Good Online Learning Look Like?
Why Instructional Design?

Take Action: Instructional Design Considerations

Getting Your Hands Dirty

Take Action: Content Development Timeline

Using Media to Help (Or Hinder) Learning


Caveat Emptor: Evaluating Media in Online Content

5. What Technologies Are Right for Me?
A Word About Learning Objects

Presenting basic information via text and images

Demonstrating a process, sequence, or procedure

Hosting asynchronous interactions

Hosting synchronous interactions

Growing a learning community

Monitor learning

Take Action: Exploring Technology Specifications

Infrastructure for online professional development

Caveat Emptor: Is Free Right for Me?


Caveat Emptor: Evaluating a Management System

6. Putting it All Together
Gathering all the pieces

Taking Care of Business

Take Action: What Online Facilitators Should Know and Be Able to Do

Putting the Pieces Together

Take Action: Putting all the Pieces Together


7: Did it work?
Formative evaluation

Is it better than face-to-face?

Measuring your outcomes

Take Action: Measuring Your Desired Outcomes

Was it worth it?

One story: The framework in action

Design, Deliver, Succeed!

References and Resources



"The practical applications offered in this book provide valuable resources for developing online professional development that is firmly grounded in best practices of e-learning. Ross provides solutions on how to transform your training program into digitally rich experiences that will engage, enrich, and enhance learning."

Jill Montoya, Online Professional Development Coordinator
Jefferson County Public Schools, Golden, CO

"A really helpful tool to keep up with the exploding online environment for professional development."

Barbara Frank, Senior Policy Analyst
National Education Association Academy, Washington, DC

"Too often, new technologies take center stage without a real focus on what our learning outcomes will be or how the technology will be implemented. What I appreciated about this book is that it very methodically laid out a plan that could be easily utilized by school districts interested in online professional learning. The templates and the questions are easily transferable to any team or process."

Catherine Huber, Principal
West Seneca CSD, NY

"In this well-written, easy-to-digest resource, John Ross draws on his years of experience to help educators consider why an online approach might be the answer to their professional development needs.  He carefully outlines the technical questions and processes needed to support a successful effort."

John Bell, Leadership and Evaluation Coordinator
Alabama State Department of Education, Montgomery, AL

"John Ross provides real-life examples and resources that will ensure online professional learning produces changes in educator practice and student learning."

Joellen Killion, Deputy Executive Director
Learning Forward, Arvada, CO

"John Ross provides a timely and unique look at online learning in this ground-breaking book. His thorough, practical, and state-of-the-art approach to online learning is critical to the future of online professional development."

James Herman, Director of K-12 Reading and Language Arts
Tennessee Department of Education, Nashville, TN

"This book explores why online professional development is a good option, how to get started, which technologies to use and how to put it all together. Experiences of other educators in the book allow the reader to benefit and create a cost-effective path to success."

Charlotte Adinolfi
District Administration magazine, July/August 2011
Key features
(1) Features a step-by-step planning and implementation framework to guide readers in developing or purchasing online professional development to meet their specific professional learning needs.

(2) OPD Decision Matrix guides readers in evaluating costs versus benefits in developing online learning communities.

(3) Includes original case studies based on experiences of exemplary providers of OPD.

(4) "Caveat Emptor" boxes provide checklists and interview questions for potential purchasers of OPD.

(4) Appropriate for both consumers and producers of Online PD

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

Rent or Buy eBook
ISBN: 9781452269580

ISBN: 9781412987127