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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Creation of The Online Teaching and Learning Academy


Before creating the Online Teaching and Learning Academy, Brian Pogue studied how students learn in a mediated context. He envisioned creating something to teach strategies for instructing and learning online.

With the need expressed from his advisers and City College staff, Pogue, City College’s instructional development coordinator, took what he had already created as a hybrid in-person/online class and turned it into a fully online course on almost a moment’s notice. The unforeseen transition to online learning forced many faculty members to seek urgent help in online teaching and learning strategies in the days before the campus closed.

“Faculty realized they were in a bind, so they were reaching out and helping each other as well,” said Pogue.

According to Pogue, this nine-week online program is designed to help City College faculty develop pedagogically sound online or hybrid courses. In the class, participants create course content and modules for Canvas. They also create outlines for the upcoming online classes that they are instructing.

“There wasn’t really any sort of training in place to help people out locally,” Pogue said. “It’s kind of the first of its kind for City College.”

The Online Teaching and Learning Academy was something that Pogue imagined for faculty who expressed a need for it. There was some training available, he said, but nothing that got into the study of how people learn and teach online.

According to Pogue, he had taught three semesters of The Online Teaching and Learning Academy as a hybrid class before COVID-19 circumstances forced the move to completely online instruction.

“In March, when we were given three days’ notice that we needed to pack things up and be sent 100% online, there were many sleepless nights figuring out how we were going to solve problems,” Pogue said.

In the beginning stages of the transition, there were a lot of faculty who were unfamiliar with the best strategies and tools for teaching online, according to Pogue. The Online Teaching and Learning Academy took nine weeks to walk faculty through how to use certain tools online, yet the pandemic forced faculty to start right away.

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As the director of the Academy, Pogue lets his participants from semester to semester inform his approach. “The program that was launched several semesters ago is different from the one running currently. It gets better each semester we go; it keeps evolving.”

When Pogue was hired at City College five years ago as an Instructional Development Coordinator, his first primary responsibility was to help the campus and faculty transition from D2L to the online learning management system Canvas. Before the pandemic, his primary responsibility was educating and providing instructors who wanted to teach online with guidance. Since the transition to all-online learning, Pogue’s skills and advice are even more in demand. 

“I’m doing a lot of coordinating of resources for the program, and also a lot of unique troubleshooting operations with individuals,” said Pogue.

Kate Abbott, a City College English professor and student participant in Pogue’s Online Teaching and Learning Academy, said, “I’m so glad that I did the class. It helped in terms of how to structure an online course.”

The teachers-turned-students in Pogue’s classes have learned new instructional strategies and technical details like how to structure modules on Canvas, according to Abbott. She said she gained insight as a student in the class, considering she had not taken an online class in a while.

“I would highly recommend it. It’s useful to be a student again and experience what your own students are going through,” said Abbott. 

Pogue points to the faculty he has coached as the ones who’ve made the best of a difficult situation.

“I found we were successful because the attitude of the faculty was overwhelmingly positive,” said Pogue. “If it weren’t for campus having a ‘can do’ attitude… we would be in a lot worse of a situation.”

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