Artifacts in this section of the portfolio demonstrate an attempt to engage faculty in different means of professional development and mentoring. The principle guiding the design and creation of these materials is that like applying a UDL approach for teaching our learners, faculty need multiple means of representation and engagement for mentoring and fostering professional development.

1. Slack Group Asynchronous Faculty Collaboration & Mentoring Project

Names and identities have been omitted to protect the identities of those in the Slack group.

Project Details: I started this Slack group in the first week of July 2020 to provide teachers within my social networks a means to come together and collaborate as they considered plans for fall 2020. The idea for this project also came from the Designing Effective E-Learning course through OSU and my participation in TLDC and Ant Pugh’s coaching group.

Tools Used: Slack

Mentors/Influencers/Teachers: Ant Pugh, TLDC Cast Community

Instructional Design and Development Process

This is one project that I wasn’t sure at first if I should include in my portfolio, as I think it represents a partial failure on my part in trying to provide an online collaborative space for instructors to discuss their designs for fall and build up their professional development. Engagement has fallen off in the group and I’m considering walking away from it. But failure is part of learning and development, and I have no problem showing this side of my workflow as I think how one addresses failure should be part of their skillset too, a lesson that has come up through both my military and academic work experience.

In addition to being enrolled in formal training in eLearning and instructional design through OSU, I also recently began to get involved with two Slack communities within the business-focused learning and development community. Ant Pugh offers coaching to new instructional designers and the TLDC community offers live Crowdcast events along with a podcast to supplement their Slack groups. The mentoring I am a part of in these lively groups was something I felt was missing among the interactions between my colleagues, so I wanted to try and replicate this through my own Slack group.

I set up the Slack group to have a podcast sharing channel, a book club sharing channel, and an ESL teaching channel so that I could separate the different sub-communities and to reflect to some extent the different ways of taking in information. I wanted this to act both as a sandbox to play around with different E-learning tools and to facilitate ongoing professional development. I adopted a model from E-Learning Challenges in the hope that my peers would be game to engage in what I felt were some of the necessary practices for successful online design and delivery.

Traffic on the channel has for the most part disappeared, and after two weeks of no response to any of my posts, I’m ready to walk away from it. My take away in this effort is a valuable lesson in failure.

For starters, I think during a pandemic many teachers had other obligations and felt no real desire to begin thinking of fall instruction or professional development. Also, I think this really has to do with winning the hearts and minds of instructors if you are trying to get them on board with professional development and training efforts. To provide quality online instruction seems insurmountable to some, so it is easier to hope this pandemic will go away and the that focus for online teaching is just a passing fad. But this failure also taught me the importance of framing and dialogue. We can’t think we can simply throw up links and resources without having a conversation about what how this fits into instructors overall approaches to teaching and what is going on in their lives, especially with the pandemic.

Another consideration is that the platform itself is an obstacle. While most of the business world has moved onto using Slack, Microsoft Teams, or something similar in order to replace email and to over-communicate during the pandemic, higher education has often been slow to make advancements like this that involve a major shift in a long-standing way of doing things.

I recently spoke to one of the creators of the TLDC community and he mentioned the importance of letting the community on Slack flow on its own and advocated a more hand-off approach. So perhaps before I walk away from this project I’ll ask if the group has any ideas for its future. See if the participants will begin using it as fall instruction gets nearer. I think in comparison with other artifacts in this section, this one is where I was not as transparent as I was in getting buy-in.

2. Curating Resources Using Blackboard LMS for Emergency Remote Teaching

As you go through the gallery from left to right, you will walk through how the Blackboard LMS was set up for Emergency Remote Teaching support. The last screenshot is located in the Discussion Boards and Adaptive Release items I created to show my curated and self-created resources.

Project Details: This was a set of just-in-time resources created within our department at INTO SLU. The use of Blackboard LMS for resource distribution is not my first choice. This collaborative resource, like the remote teaching situation in spring 2020, is tool and resource-driven. The goal is to get teachers equipped with the resources to quickly transition online.

Tools Used: Blackboard LMS, Panopto, LinkedIn, Quality Matters

Mentors/Influencers/Teachers: Quality Matters Remote Teaching Resources

Instructional Design and Development Process

Once the pandemic forced our department to go online following spring break, I began taking time to gain familiarity with how organizations like Quality Matters and ACUE were responding to the pandemic. While at Oregon State University, I had taken the QM rubric certification and had become a member after that. Seeing how OSU used QM as a benchmark in quality online instruction had convinced me that this organization had a network of professionals I could rely on for leadership when it came to remote online instruction, especially during a time of upheaval.

Some of the first QM remote teaching webinars I attended focused on backwards design, setting up a QA discussion forum, managing discussions, and getting up to speed on an LMS’s basic features. There was also a focus on student care and acknowledgement that instructors should be content with realizing this was not ‘quality online instruction.’

I had also begun to teach my courses in a hybrid model when I taught at OSU by adopting Cub Kahn’s templates for my own courses at INTO OSU, something that I tried to continue since first discovering them after OSU transitioned from Blackboard to Canvas during my time there. So I had been through the process of adopting the basic LMS tools with two different LMS by the time this crisis arose.

Just as I do for my courses, I began curating resources for using specific tools of the LMS that QM experts said was important along with drawing upon my own experience at OSU. I drew on some of the Blackboard Youtube videos for content, but explaining the use of some of the more complicated features of an LMS, I found the need to make a quick screencast to show faculty the steps in the process. In the third image of the above gallery, you will find my resources for the LMS along with the video that explains how to set up the adaptive release. I am also modeling a quick deployment of content using folders. I later adapted a practice of using the modules.

My takeaway in this project was that there needs to be some type of agreed structure and plan. There needs to be a shared vision for what a group’s collective needs are before they are curated. What was missing from this whole project was a needs analysis. If I were to go back and do it all over again, I would have created a quick survey in Google Forms to ask faculty what were priorities & needs they had for getting materials online. Conversely, the whole situation was so overwhelming that many faculty members probably didn’t even realize their own needs.

3. INTO OSU Professional Development Blog

First post in the co-created professional development blog I created with my colleague Elisabeth McBrien.

Project Details: This was a project that I started with my colleague Elisabeth McBrien while at INTO OSU. We wanted to create a professional development blog that would allow teachers to share their knowledge and expertise.

Tools Used: OSU’s WordPress Blogs, Collaboration

Instructional Design and Development Process

My colleague Elisabeth McBrien set up a monthly teacher discussion group where teachers would read an article and then get together and discuss it with each other. After being a part of this group, I realized that we both shared an interest in investing in the professional development of ourselves and our colleagues, so I approached Elisabeth with the idea of starting a professional development blog.

We wanted it to feature an online digital library so that faculty could see what books had been added to the library in the physical INTO OSU professional library. I’d already been playing around with Library Thing, so we worked at integrating this into the blog. We also wanted to feature conference write ups. One of the things we noticed lacking was a way for instructors to share their own notes and take aways from conferences our program had funded them to attend. Once we had a shared vision for the blog, we approached our director and got approval.

At first we featured write ups of our own to build content. I was taking an instructional design and web design course through Western Oregon University, so I wanted include some content on accessibility. I was also continuing to tinker with tech tools in my own courses, so I included a write up on using QR codes for scavenger hunts to get students outside.

This project still stands out as one of my highlights as an instructor at INTO Oregon State University. I found someone who was equally committed to professional development and was able to create a space for teachers to participate in their own development. The steps of identifying a need, collaborating with a like minded colleague and getting administration buy in is one that I continue to draw on today. These steps are essential when taking on any project in order for it be successful.

4. Humanizing Online Education Newsletter

Project Details: I created this as a way to mix up materials sharing in my Slack group and focus on one particular approach to online teaching that I feel very important in light of the pandemic, economic, and social unrest occurring all around the U.S. Humanizing online education is something I’m very passionate about, so I wanted to experiment with a different way of sharing materials.

Tools Used: Apple Pages, Slack

Instructional Design and Development Process

I created this resource after seeing a real need in my own course I was teaching over the summer of 2020 semester. At the time of writing this, I have not seen an approach to teaching, online or otherwise, that seems to capture an appropriate response to what is going on in the lives of our students as the humanizing approach does.

I curated resources from podcasts, blogs, infographics and other means of representation. In addition to sharing this with teachers in my Slack group, my hope was that by curating a variety of resources around a single topic, I would be hitting home on the principle of UDL (which is also an aspect of humanizing instruction) by providing multiple means of representation.

This was a recent resource and I have no idea how useful teachers found this resource. But I think the idea of creating a newsletter may be a good way to filter through the social media buzz and emails that seem to not be as engaging for some. So this is something I plan to continue to explore as we head into fall instruction within my own department.

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