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Faculty Learning Communities: A Model for Faculty Development
Faculty Learning Communities: A Model for Faculty Development and Technology IntegrationDr. Braddlee, Dean of Libraries, Academic Technology and Online Learning Nancy Pawlyshyn, Chief Assessment Officer Laurette Olson, Professor of Health Sciences MERCY COLLEGE • NEW YORK
Today’s PresentersBraddlee, Dean Nancy Pawlyshyn Matt Lewis, Laurette Olson,of Libraries, Chief Assessment Senior Professor ofAcademic Officer Instructional Health SciencesTechnology and Academic Affairs DesignerOnline Learning
Today’s Presentation How do we create a sustainable culture of technology-infused teaching and learning? An institutional model that works to engage faculty with technology integration build an infrastructure to support it facilitate faculty ownership develop faculty leadership around technology integration shift focus from technology to conceptual basis for successful teaching and learning
Today’s Presentation Background Institutional context, state of technology integration Infrastructure Building and supporting a faculty development model Leadership Roles, strategies and support Impact Institution, faculty and students Sustainability Lessons learned, continued management Vision for the future
About Mercy College New York metropolitan area minority-serving institution 10,000 students in five campus locations 90+ graduate and undergraduate programs and online 70% of classes have fewer than 20 students approximately 220 full-time faculty and 600 visiting, professional and adjunct faculty One of the most affordable, private, not-for profit institutions in the U.S. (tuition is about $16K per year) Mission to provide motivated students the opportunity to transform their lives through higher education. Mercy’s PACT (Personalized Achievement Contract) program mentors students to persistence and success.
Prior State of Academic Technology Pockets of innovation No college-wide systematic technology plan Leverage what was working to benefit the whole college Assessment of student learning becomes a driver
Why ePortfolios?... Began as a conversation during the ―Winter Dialogues‖ Discussed as an authentic and useful tool for our student population which needs multiple supports for persistence Committee behavior focused on previous failures Members listened and heard the possibility of reconsideration
From there to institution-wide impact Grown from a conversation in an ad hoc committee to an institution-wide project in under two years Wide range of use: course developmental work, program assessment , faculty dossier, recent Middle States report Has effectively become a key part of our assessment program for the entire College
Why had previous ePortfolio efforts failed? Advanced by a single faculty user Few perceived benefits to faculty Believed that students would not engage with this type of technology Perceived as being difficult—technology too advanced No formal faculty development program or infrastructure to advance initiatives Seen as being too costly
Getting Started: The early steps Established small group of faculty Attended summer ePortfolio institute Growing national interest in ePortfolios to: Improve student engagement Collect artifacts that provide evidence of learning Conduct assessment of learning Based on traditional portfolio concept, ePortfolios are collections of artifacts online: Artifacts can include various media (e.g., text, images, video, audio) Artifacts are uploaded to an electronic workspace Software is used to provide a way for interaction: draft, feedback, reflection, resubmit, present
Getting Started: The early steps Learning Portfolios— Created by the student and reflect a student-centered approach Include defined learning outcomes Encourage reflective thinking Span multiple courses, or entire college experience Foster integrative learning across varied domains (academic/professional/cross-disciplinary, knowledge/practice)
Getting Started: Choosing a tool Determined our own needs for a tool Brainstormed our needs Developed a matrix Identified our priority: well-supported and user-friendly interface with integrated assessment tools (rubrics and standards) In-depth analysis of tools and vendors resulted in pilot of TaskStream in Spring 2009 Started very small with a few classes / small goals and 50 student accounts
Getting Started: The early steps Set overarching strategic learning goals for the introduction of ePortfolio for students around engagement, assessment and technology Primary goal: to engage students in reflection, and also... To use ePortfolio to advance a philosophy of assessment for learning, and an... awareness of own urgency to bring technology fluency to our students’ ways of learning.
Building a Faculty Learning Community Recognized need for an identity Adopted the model of the faculty learning community Group included an administrative champion Key role: enabling the group to believe their work would have an outcome Nature of work was intentional, inspired, self-directed and collaborative Based on inquiry and scholarship
What is a Faculty Learning Community?In Milton Cox’s work, a FLC is defined as: ―a cross-disciplinary faculty and staff group of six to fifteen members who engage in an active, collaborative …curriculum about enhancing teaching and learning with …activities that provide learning, development, the scholarship of teaching, and community building…‖(Cox, 2004)
Theoretical Underpinnings Collaborative learning forms the basis of the construction of knowledge (Dewey, 1938). Empowers the learner as an active participant in the construction of knowledge (Bruffee, 1993). Builds trust in an environment of “…clarity, consensus, and commitment regarding the organization’s basic purposes…‖ (Vaill, 1984 in Sergiovanni, 1992, p.83). Creates conditions that lead to innovation (Bielacyzc & Collins, 2006). Situates faculty as leaders in their role as knowledge creators (Pawlyshyn, 2010).
Reasons for Success Academic innovations have failed because they have been implemented without an understanding of ―how faculty learn and develop, how change occurs in academic culture, and what the most effective strategies are for change‖ (Angelo, 2002). ―Colleges have greatly underestimated faculty acceptance of accountability and, consequently, have not tapped their creativity in defining and implementing meaningful systems for it ‖ (Crow, 2004).
Leadership“The litmus test of all leadership is whether it mobilizespeople’s commitment to put their energy into actionsdesigned to improve things” (Fullan, 2001).
Three Key Leadership Roles Faculty learning community Emerging infrastructure to support innovation and faculty leadership Identity as MePort, the Mercy College ePortfolio Project Newly launched Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning, led by six faculty leaders, provides umbrella. Funded by a Title V grant to support technology integration in teaching & learning. Administrative champions are strong collaborators
Principles Guiding Implementation Inclusiveness not exclusiveness – no application Membership vs. attendance Connection to colleagues valued and fostered Staff and Faculty co-facilitators leading sessions Collaborative research projects Development of curriculum modules Training and group gatherings supplement small cohort meetings Rewards-based: no financial compensation
Key Strategies for Success Being strategic—seeking opportunities, communicating progress, sharing not proselytizing Seeking out possible funding sources from grants Establishing support from senior administration Creating a workable process—regular meetings, space, supplies, books, lunch Setting up the pilot with a research design—aligned with the faculty approach to problem solving and scholarship Starting with small achievable goals Institutional support
Institutional Impact: Our Evolution Summer 2008: 5 faculty and 1 administrator - Explored Fall 2008: 9 faculty, 3 staff, 1 administrator - Defined Spring 2009: 11 faculty, 3 staff, 1 administrator - Piloted Fall 2009: Two learning communities with 33 faculty - Expanded Fall 2009: The Faculty Center leadership led a Fall faculty seminar day on the theme of ―Innovation and Collaboration,‖ which launched the concept of faculty learning communities to advance faculty-led initiatives - Shared
Institutional Impact: Where We Are Today The original faculty learning community is now the facilitation team for MePort. Strategic planning and organization of all logistics. 100 faculty in MePort learning communities 1000 students have begun ePortfolios by Fall 2010 This number grows daily.
Institutional Impact: Where We Are Today The Faculty Learning Community is the model of choicefor other technology integration initiatives.• Digital storytelling• iClickers• WIMBA• Online pedagogy
Impact: Diversity of ePortfolio Applications Tenure and promotion dossier/professional development planning Framework for fieldwork and practicum reflection and assessment Program capstone and general education assessment Course learning folios Assessment for prior learning achievement Student showcase of best work
Impact of the Learning Community Ongoing qualitative data collection includes faculty reflections that present these themes: Strengthened faculty confidence to experiment Established sense of engagement at the College Enabled independent thought Underscored importance of community and team Motivation to participate is not based on financial rewards (Pink, 2010).
Student Impact Initial survey data shows that 71% of our students indicate they see better evidence of their learning and get more feedback from their faculty using the ePortfolio tool Evidence points us in a direction of increasing our outreach and training efforts for students. Increasing integration between ePortfolio and our Learning Management System
Impact of Faculty Learning Community Model on myEngagement with Technology Dr. Laurette Olson, Professor, School of Health Sciences
My teaching challenges Teach undergraduate and graduate courses to working, adult students who have full time jobs, family responsibilities, live a distance from campus, and rely on old cars or public transportation Teach nontraditional weekend classes that meet from 9 am to 5:30 pm Collaborate with adjuncts in teaching; they support my teaching by facilitating small groups and supervising students as the students design and lead groups for children. They live a distance from campus and have full time jobs and families.
Technology can support the resolutions of these challenges, but locating, exploring andapplying learning technologies are time consuming, overwhelmingand frustrating if an instructor goes at it alone (unless you’re a ―techie‖).
FLCs provided me with: Access to learning about technology side by side with other faculty on my home campus New ways to look at teaching and learning Relaxed, supportive, warm environment to learn, practice and apply technological assists for teaching and learning A cross disciplinary community Social modeling of self efficacy New colleagues who were open, willing and available to offer support and tutorials as I applied technologies. Self direction and self paced learning and application of learning
WIMBA FLC: VirtualClassroom technologyThe confidence to say that : Classgoes on…. even in a blizzard
Ways that Faculty in my FLC and I are using WIMBA Extra help sessions Office hours Learning communities of students and faculty Small group supervision and discussions Bringing in guest speakers who might not otherwise be able to participate
Taskstream Eportfolio FLC helped my students and me go from: Supporting Meta-reflection
Learning to present myself and how to teach my students how to present themselves through an eportfolio
Iclickers FLC gave me a way to :Engage students in focusing on keyconcepts.Promote critical thinking about classcontent: the students and me.Collect excellent formative assessment data
Positive experiences with Formal FLCs lead to informal FLCs to address teaching/learning needs: One example Google Docs informal FLC: to help faculty problem based learning facilitators help students share their group work in an organized way. Initiated by faculty (me) but supported by FCTL through the support of an instructional designer to create initial materials for teaching faculty and students specific ways of using Google Docs.
Indirect benefits of core faculty participating in FLCs: More adjuncts using technology to support their teaching Enthusiasm and belief in the benefits of the technologies for teaching and learning engages adjuncts in learning and using technology in classes where they co-teach with core faculty. Adjuncts seek out learning and supports to apply technologies to enhance teaching and learning in their own classes Adjuncts experience teaching as more do-able and rewarding with technology tools and supports.
Sustainability: Ongoing Challenges Challenge: Changing the culture of the College Overcoming resistance to change and accepting individual initiative as change agent outside the established hierarchy Strategies: Sharing success and garnering broad attention Infusing the project with scholarship and opportunities for faculty to publish and present FIPSE Grant collaboration with Melissa Peet at UMichigan and partnering with Boston University, Clemson, DePaul, and Portland State
Sustainability: Ongoing Challenges Challenge: Supporting and engaging faculty, including adjuncts Protecting faculty initiative Strategies: Offering enough training and connection opportunities to sustain support Building opportunities for faculty to share work Expanding outreach to increase acceptance
Sustainability: Ongoing Challenges Challenge: Sustaining funding support in downturns Strategies: Always seeking funding from grants and collaborations Write ePortfolios and other technology initiatives into grant proposals Institutionalizing faculty learning communities within the Faculty Center and the organizational structure where it resides – budgets, staff, space
Sustainability: Ongoing Challenges Challenge: Increasing student engagement Strategies: Training workshops for students Intense development over the summer of 2010 Students help design the workshops and class visits Expanded multimedia tools for students Focus our learning community efforts on students
Sustainability: Continued Management Continued leadership from senior administration Appointment of Chief Assessment Officer in Academic Affairs and new Dean with oversight of Academic Technology 15-member MePort Facilitation Team serves as a model for implementation of other initiatives Supporting project through planning and service More school-based outreach to deans and chairs Liaisons appointed from schools
Concluding thoughts A sustainable commitment to technology integration across the institution requires Faculty engagement and ownership Willingness to experiment Effective tools that are relevant for your institution Resources from across the institution and with external partners A pull approach as opposed to push Leadership across key constituents
References Angelo, T. (2002) Engaging and supporting faculty in the scholarship of assessment. In T. Banta, (2002). Building a scholarship of assessment (2nd edition). San Francisco. Jossey-Bass. Banta, T.W. (2002). Building a scholarship of assessment (2nd edition). San Francisco. Jossey-Bass. Barrett. H. (2010, May 6). Portfolio life: ePortfolios for faculty professional development and lifelong learning. Presentation at the first annual Mercy College Faculty Development Symposium, Bronx, NY. Bielaczyc, K. & Collins, A. (2006). Fostering knowledge-creating communities. In A. O’Donnell, C. Hmelo-Silver, & G. Erkens. (2006) Collaborative learning, reasoning and technology. NJ: Erlbaum Associates Publishers. Bruffee, Kenneth. (1998). Collaborative learning: Higher education, interdependence, and the authority of knowledge. MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Cox, M. (2004). Introduction to faculty learning communities. [Electronic version]. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. No. 97. Crow, S. (2004, April) Testimony to the National Commission on Accountability in Higher Education. Chicago, IL. Retrieved June 7, 2009 from http://www.sheeo.org/account/comm/testim/NCACS%20testimony.pdf Dewey, J. (1938, 1997). Experience & education. New York: Touchstone Fullan, M. (2001). Leadership in a culture of change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
References Hubball, H., Collins, J. & Pratt, D. (2005, September) Enhancing reflective teaching practices: Implications for faculty development programs. [Electronic Version]. The Canadian Journal of Higher Education. Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 57-81. Retrieved April 2009 from http://www.eric.ed.gov:80/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp_nfpb=true&_&ER ICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ771031&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ771031 Macpherson. A. (2007, Oct.). Faculty learning communities: The heart of the transformative learning organization. Transformative dialogues: Teaching & learning journal. Vol. 1, issue 2. Kwantlen University College. Retrieved June 7, 2009 from http://kwantlen.ca/TD/TD.12/TD.1.2_Macpherson_Learning_Communities.pdf. O’Meara, K. (2005). The courage to be experimental: How one faculty learning community influenced faculty teaching careers, understanding of how students learn and assessment. [Electronic version]. Journal of Faculty Development, Vol. 20, No. 3 New Forums Press, Stillwater, OK. Retrieved April 2009 from http://newforums.metapress.com/content/c7q78188nl447804/ Pink, D. (2009). Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. NY: Riverhead Books. Senge, P. (1990). Give me a lever long enough…and single-handed I can move the world. In Jossey- Bass (2007). The Jossey-Bass reader on educational leadership (2nd ed.) San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Sergiovanni, T. (1992). Leadership as stewardship. In Jossey-Bass (2007). The Jossey-Bass reader on educational leadership (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.