Assessing Knowledge and Practice Gaps: Opportunities for Skills-Based Professional Development



  • Deborah Dorsey, Project Manager, Maryland Online

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


MarylandOnline, a consortium of 20 community colleges and senior institutions, deployed a survey to assess knowledge and practice in creating and/or using perceivable online learning content. Results varied greatly among both institutions suggesting the need for a tailored approach to professional development.


As a means of creating professional development that enables institutions to meet accessibility standards, MarylandOnline deployed a survey of questions to measure web authoring and LMS practices, institutional regulation, and perceived professional development needs. Survey respondents from 16 community colleges and 4 senior institutions included full and part time faculty, administrators, and instructional designers. Types of inaccessible practices varied among institutions and roles, however, perceived solutions to overcoming inaccessible practices were specific to the institution. Highlighting the power of data to design skills-based professional development, this presentation will propose that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to professional development may not produce positive outcomes and outline how professional development could be tailored to deliver training that is both meaningful and relevant to one's institution.


  1. Perceptions of how to fix accessibility issues vary among institutions.
  2. Creating and using perceivable web content is a skill many content creators lack.
  3. Tailored professional development may produce better outcomes.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Administrative/Campus Policy, Faculty Instruction/Accessible Course Design, Including Accessibility in Curriculum, Information Technology, Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Deborah Dorsey

Debbie Dorsey holds a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology from Louisiana State University and is a Higher Ed QM Peer Reviewer, Secretary for the Maryland Distance Learning Association, and graduate of the Maryland Online Leadership Institute. Debbie provides leadership to the Education, Welllness and Community Engagement Division at Harford Community College, collaborating with faculty to implement universal design best practices in both classroom and online learning environments.