Leva Lee, from BC Campus, wrote this thoughtful article on nurturing and growing communites of practice. The article contains some succinct tips based on her experience.
The three-day version of the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) has mixed blessings: although time efficient for busy instructors, it doesn’t allow as much time as longer versions for transmitting information and developing familiarity with the lesson-planning resources provided. Instructors get going on Day 1 delivering their mini-lesson to peers.Two affordances proved beneficial in helping develop a convivial environment without feeling rushed in the process. We used a Blackboard course to provide advance knowledge of the lesson-planning model, the feedback process and some foundational theory for the workshop. An “Introduce Yourself” discussion forum helped participants learn a bit about each other, and get to a deeper engagement level right away.This was the first ISW in the new flexible learning space, the Collaboration Room (S0620 at the New Westminster campus). The ability to reconfigure the room helped us easily set up several learning environments:
- The eClassroom setting for conventional lecture mode (with the added feature of being able to see the presentation on a rear monitors if desired).
- A central round table for shared discussion.
- Two areas to demonstrate content, concepts, and tools.
- Three interactive monitor areas for participants to present their lessons, and allow participants to shift smoothly between stations.
- A library: a resource and book area.
Have you ever started going in a direction, and something completely unexpected, valuable and delightful popped up? This can be a transformative experience.
It started when a few faculty and staff were in a lively conversation about student interest (or lack of interest) in innovative learning environments. The discussion was mostly opinion, with some research references thrown in. We needed something more to sustain our inquiry into “what students want”.
And then we discovered an article that changed our direction. In What Learners Want , Ross Laird, Ph.D. writes about his experience spending a full day with 20 diverse university learners at different stages along their educational paths “…talking about the kinds of learning environments and experiences that work best for them. With great candor and enthusiasm, the learners worked together to craft their vision of a contemporary learning environment.”
We started meeting people who were familiar with his book Grain of Truth. We became more aware of his work with indigenous groups, addiction issues (including technology addiction), and the Amazon Field School. We learned about his interests, accomplishments, and educational contributions. A new direction took shape, and interest in bringing Ross to Douglas College grew.
Each time we’ve met with Ross, we have been inspired, entertained, and stimulated to hear more. With support from individual faculty members, the Learning Technology Steering Committee, Academic Technology Services, and funding from the College Wide Faculty Development fund, we’re thrilled that Ross facilitated a series of well-attended sessions at Douglas College. We’re excited about the emerging community of practice that has met several times since those sessions, around the educational themes Ross brought to us with his work, including:
- Emotional safety
- Character development
- Facilitation skills
Related content: Storming the Ivory Tower: A Workshop on Transforming Post-Secondary Education (notes, slides and recordings from the Ross Laird sessions at Douglas College)
to be continued…
[Post from ETUG Stewardship Committee]
We invite you to join us at the Educational Technology Users Group (ETUG) “Education by Design: ETUG Spring Jam!,” co-hosted with the Centre for Teaching and Learning, UBC Okanagan, in beautiful Kelowna, BC. This year, we’re bringing participants together to share innovative approaches and processes used in designing for education and to work on real-world, wicked design problems, challenges, and opportunities.
The two-day event, held June 1 & 2, 2017, will feature brainstorming and problem-solving sessions, as well as more intensive focused creating sessions such as sprints and hackathons.
Save $50 with the early bird rate! This early bird savings will be available until April 16! Visit the ETUG website for all event information and registration details.
Please encourage your colleagues, peers, and community members to attend and kindly share information about this event across distribution lists, social media channels, and networks. We have attached a handy poster to promote the ETUG Spring Jam, please click here to download, share, print, and display.
We hope to see you on June 1 & 2 at “Education by Design: ETUG Spring Jam!”.
If you have any questions about the event, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the best,
Jason Toal, SFU, Chair, Stewardship Committee
Janine Hirtz, UBC Okanagan, Vice-Chair, Stewardship Committee
Leva Lee, BCcampus, Community Steward for ETUG