When it comes to support around teaching, faculty are often isolated. They need a place where they can go for an open exchange of ideas about what they see happening in their classrooms, to talk freely about what is working and what is not and to gain insights and support from their peers. That is why, at the Center for Digital Learning and Innovation (CDLI), we offer the Course Design Program as a community of practice.
Faculty have not been shy about sharing how grateful they are for the space and the support. "This is the best professional development I've had in 35 years" reported one senior faculty member. At CDLI, we are always on the lookout for ways to bring faculty together. Our lab and offices are funny, playful spaces where the first thing that greets people is our Lego Calendar. It seems to have paid off because faculty drop in all the time to work because, "it just feels so good to be here."
In addition to the the Course Design & Course Design II programs; a Course Facilitation course; a calendar full of workshops and periodic Faculty Showcase presentations, we provide a few other ways to keep the Center for Digital Learning and Innovation (CDLI) open, inviting and useful to faculty.
Some of our best information about what we can be doing for faculty and departments comes from our faculty interest group, CDLI Fig. We meet a couple of times a year over lunch to hear what's new and to get feedback about what faculty need. Maybe the best part is, as one faculty member pointed out, "It's always a good sign when the menu is longer than the agenda."
Faculty Interest Group
In their High Tech/High Touch report, Intentional Futures noted that,"CDLI is located in an inviting space that is full of light,robots and Legos. It aims to be less intimidating for those new to digital learning. This welcoming space makes digital education more approachable, thereby reducing another common barrier to faculty buy-in."
The Inviting Lab: Physical Spaces Matter
There is so much that goes into successful discussions, both in class and online. To unpack all the ways to approach discussions, we hosted a faculty discussion group based on Brookfield and Preskill's The Discussion Book: 50 Ways to Get People Talking and tried out a number of the techniques together so we could evaluate what would work given shifting circumstances.
The Discussion Book Discussion Group
One of the request that came out of our Faculty Interest Group was a place where people could share teaching ideas. I built this Teaching Idea Portal where faculty can upload their ideas using an intake form. The Portal is still in its infancy but so far it seems like something faculty think could be useful.