Peer to-peer development with media-rich faculty case studies


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Presentation given by Gail Matthews-DeNatale to the 2009 Sloan Conference for online learning.

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  • Note: Our work with these case studies grew out of our Blended Learning Initiative, which is funded through a Localness grant from the Sloan Foundation
  • Helpful to provide some of the institutional context in which these case studies have developed
  • FOCUS ON THE LAST BULLET POINT – THE HIGH TOUCH Private institutions of higher education have been slower to adopt blended learning. We hypothesize that this has to do with institutional culture, particularly that of liberal arts institutions, which values a personalized or “high touch” approach to teaching and learning. In fact, our Sloan proposal was titled “High Touch in a Small Footprint.” What does this mean? Characteristics of “high touch”: A welcoming and highly supportive learning environment Everyone knows your name Faculty and peers care about your success As opposed to increasing the sense of distance , Simmons’s blended programs will increase the sense of presence that our College has in the lives of our students. We realized that, for the blended learning initiative to be successful, our model for faculty professional development needed to also model this high touch approach
  • GO THROUGH THIS QUICKLY Progress So Far Worked with Deans and faculty to develop policies in support of blended (e.g., tenure and promotion, sabbatical consideration) Developed guiding questions and recommendations for curriculum committees Offer an intensive faculty institute twice per year Project assessment instruments designed to gather data on student engagement and the extent to which they feel a sense of belonging/caring in their blended courses.
  • Based on a survey Ann Taylor and Carol McQuiggan conducted among 260 faculty who teach through Penn State’s World Campus, see the article in Educause Quarterly entitled “Faculty Development Programming: If We Build It, Will They Come?”
  • OUR FIRST CHALLENGE: how to offer professional development that is personalized (high touch), conveys a range of faculty perspectives on blended teaching, Multiple perspectives (stereoptical view) that yields depth of insight into blended and shows how a range of teaching styles can work in this mode. Institute format – asked each presenter to focus on a topic central to successful blended teaching (for example, planning strategies, effective discussion prompts, assessment strategies). Over the course of 3 face-to-face sessions, participants hear from 5-6 people who talk about their firsthand experiences in course redesign and blended teaching. This is a critical component in the “personalized” touch of the institute. Each presentation is followed with an exercise that is designed to scaffold the participants’ planning and course redesign with their own courses. We try to coordinate the theme and content of the presentations with the exercises that follow. The scheduling of each day’s agenda is challenging – to create something that hangs together as a learning sequence that builds and flows. Comments from Participants: The presentations were all uniformly fantastic (but each in their own way)! The institute changed my thinking about teaching and learning. Our teaching responsibilities have pulled us in many directions over the past five years and I feel through this medium, we are reconnecting in ways we did in our early years teaching when the department was smaller and our responsibilities more focused. OUR SECOND CHALLENGE: To develop a scalable and sustainable method – one that can meet the needs of adjuncts and that can accommodate times when key presenters can’t be present. Used an enthographic process to document our face-to-face institute so that portions (or all) of it could be transitioned into a virtual format, without losing the power and personalization of the faculty presenter voices.
  • Why is this ethnographic? Ethnography = writing culture. Not just a summary of a course assignment, but deeper understanding of the faculty member’s work a rich (thick) description of the course. To accomplish this goal, we need to see inside the actual courses, to get a sense of what it feels like to be in the online component of the course (WITHOUT VIOLATING FERPA) read modules, assignments, and other course materials get a sense of the faculty member, her voice and perspective understand the language of blended learning and other terms associated with pedagogy We then take things one step further by offering companion exercises that could be part of a faculty institute (online or face-to-face).
  • Each person we interviewed has a theme that she focuses on, an aspect of blended or blended course redesign. So each case focuses on a PERSON and on a THEME or TOPIC that’s important to faculty professional development for blended learning. As in the “live” institute, each case is paired with recommended exercises that the participant can use to apply what she’s learned to a course that she is blending. These cases will be made available through a website that we are developing for our Sloan project.
  • Turn to your neighbor. Take 2-3 minutes to discuss these questions with your neighbor. We’ll share back. Should we provide them with a worksheet so that we can capture notes as well?
  • Peer to-peer development with media-rich faculty case studies

    1. 1. Peer-to-Peer Development with Media-Rich Faculty Case Studies Gail Matthews-DeNatale, Ph.D. Associate Director, Academic Technology Elizabeth Santiago, Ed.M. Senior Instructional Designer, Academic Technology 2008 Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning
    2. 2. Presentation Agenda <ul><li>Simmons & Blended Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty PD Strategies: Show of Hands </li></ul><ul><li>The Conundrum </li></ul><ul><li>About the Case Studies </li></ul><ul><li>Case Study Tour </li></ul><ul><li>Pair/Share: Uses and Wish List </li></ul>
    3. 3. About Simmons <ul><li>100+ years old </li></ul><ul><li>Private college located in Boston </li></ul><ul><li>5,000 students (1/2 grad, 1/2 undergrad) </li></ul><ul><li>Women’s undergrad college and five co-educational grad schools </li></ul><ul><li>Small university </li></ul>
    4. 4. Blended Learning @ Simmons <ul><li>2006-07 </li></ul><ul><li>Shared Academic Technology Vision (campus-wide process) </li></ul><ul><li>Blended learning identified as a priority </li></ul><ul><li>2008-10 </li></ul><ul><li>Awarded a Sloan “Localness” grant to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blend two programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop infrastructure and policies in support of blended </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Articulate model congruent with “high touch” campus culture </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>Progress </li></ul><ul><li>Official policies authorized in support of blended </li></ul><ul><li>Support documents for Curriculum Committees </li></ul><ul><li>Twice annual faculty institute (based on UW-M) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>37 Simmons faculty and staff have participated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>20 courses have been blended </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project assessment instruments created, in implementation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Good so far, but there are challenges </li></ul>Blended Learning @ Simmons
    6. 6. Strategies: Show of Hands <ul><li>How many of your institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Hold annual conferences or showcases of exemplary faculty use of technology for teaching? </li></ul><ul><li>Host “faculty lunches” or other opportunities for peer-to-peer sharing? </li></ul><ul><li>Offer intensive faculty institutes or multi-week faculty seminars … with faculty as presenters and facilitators? </li></ul>
    7. 7. Strategies: Show of Hands How many of these events … <ul><li>If You Organized Them </li></ul><ul><li>Were difficult to schedule at a time people could attend? </li></ul><ul><li>Lacked “critical mass” and key people weren’t there? </li></ul><ul><li>Overstretched staff and faculty presenter resources? </li></ul><ul><li>Felt like “one shots” that didn’t add up to much? </li></ul><ul><li>If You Wanted/Did Go </li></ul><ul><li>Took place at a time that you couldn’t attend? </li></ul><ul><li>Would have been better if attended by a peer cohort? </li></ul><ul><li>Needed to go into more detail to inform your teaching? </li></ul><ul><li>Could have been more useful if they were documented? </li></ul>
    8. 8. The Conundrum <ul><li>Faculty feel they learn best from one another </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty prefer self-paced and/or informal (one-on-one mentoring), as opposed to formal formats </li></ul><ul><li>Time is a precious commodity for most faculty </li></ul><ul><li>Potential faculty mentors have limited capacity and availability </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Taylor and McQuiggan (Educause Quarterly, September 2008) </li></ul>
    9. 9. Simmons Model for PD Option 2: Develop w/o ID consultation Option 1: Develop in consultation with ID Instructor w/o prior blended experience Participate in one week intensive institute, plans and receives feedback Plan Institute outcome includes a course redesign plan + ID Experienced faculty contribute to future institutes & workshops <ul><li>Builds a faculty community of support for blended </li></ul><ul><li>But success depends on presence of faculty presenters </li></ul><ul><li>Through ethnographic documentation, use f2f to build virtual </li></ul>
    10. 10. Ethnographic Case Studies <ul><li>Include </li></ul><ul><li>Video Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Course Tour </li></ul><ul><li>Sample Course Materials (Modules, Assignments) </li></ul><ul><li>Recommended Exercises for Blended Course Redesign </li></ul><ul><li>Glossary of Terms </li></ul><ul><li>Designed to also be used as learning modules </li></ul>
    11. 11. Ethnographic Case Studies <ul><li>Use Scenarios </li></ul><ul><li>Face-to-face institutes or blended institutes </li></ul><ul><li>Fully online professional development (especially for adjuncts) </li></ul><ul><li>Scheduled asynchronous (faculty available online as discussants) </li></ul><ul><li>Self-paced independent </li></ul>See Case Study Tour
    12. 12. About the Case Studies Ten faculty cases planned for 08-09, eight are “in the can,” and topics include: <ul><li>The “Faculty-Instructional Designer” relationship </li></ul><ul><li>Involving students in online journaling </li></ul><ul><li>Writing online course materials & assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Personalizing your writing tone </li></ul><ul><li>Designing blended group assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Top “10 Tips” for course redesign </li></ul><ul><li>Authoring discussion prompts and facilitation </li></ul><ul><li>Involving students in multimedia production </li></ul><ul><li>From CATs to BLATs </li></ul><ul><li>Strategies for supporting blended students </li></ul>
    13. 13. Pair/Share: Uses and Wishes <ul><li>If a series of cases like these were available to you, how would you use them at your institution? </li></ul><ul><li>What features would be most important to you? What could be omitted? What could be added? </li></ul><ul><li>What additional topics would you like to see in a series like this? </li></ul>
    14. 14. Thank You To receive notification on the release of the cases, please use the sign-up sheet or email