What are Virtual Faculty Learning Communities (VFLC)?
Virtual, collaborative opportunities are becoming a trend in faculty development. These opportunities exist because geographic location no longer limits the institution’s faculty can work for. Although online learning and teaching have opened doors for many instructors, distance from a campus location can lead to feeling isolated (Dolan, 2011). FLCs promote faculty engagement and a sense of belonging (McKenna, Johnson, Yoder, Guerra, & Pimmel, 2016). Furthermore, FLCs encourage instructors to utilize institutional, instructional support (Nordin & Anthony, 2014).
However, virtual faculty learning communities have been underexplored. According to Cox and McDonald (2017), FLCs can be initiated by a center for teaching and learning. With this knowledge of traditional FLCs as well as the understanding that virtual collaborations can lead to knowledge sharing and innovation (Sarma & Matheus, 2015), the Rothwell Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (RCTLE) created Virtual Communities of Practice based on the principles of faculty learning communities.