Here are a few recommendations for designing a Faculty Learning Community centered around new technologies:

Evolving Outcomes: Begin with clear outcomes for the community, and ask faculty to articulate their own project objectives in their applications for participation. However, keep in mind that there is an inherent openness to this process. Rework project outcomes as needed and provide progress updates at the beginning of each meeting.
Multi-channel Communication: Include multiple types of interactions throughout the term to meet the many needs of participating faculty. Allow the participants to design the format of their face-to-face group meetings. Then supplement these scheduled sessions with one-on-one design meetings, online communications, self-help resources, and triage sessions.
Campus Partners: Use the participant applications to imagine what types of support the faculty might need, and identify the people on campus best able to offer this support. Reach out to these campus partners in advance of the FLC, gauging their interest and availability to offer demonstrations, create online learning tools, purchase technologies, or meet with faculty one-on-one.
Community Building: Remember that this is a community, and build it as such: work to develop a good rapport among participants; listen deeply to each participants’ goals; learn about disciplines outside of one’s own; require a certain level of participation; and bring drinks and food. Good learning environments tend to blend the formal and informal, supplementing expectations and plans with the free flowing nature of discussion and discovery.

I am especially interested in the “Evolving Outcomes” mentioned. How do we go about articulating initial outcomes for an FLC at my organization?

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June 15, 2020 at 03:06PM

The last few months have provided me with ample opportunity to listen to music while working.  Flowstate is a newsletter and subscription that provides an abundance of new music that I find *perfect* for this purpose.  And once a week, they provide mixes that are really outstanding.
Sacha Chua is a prolific blogger who I have followed for years, especially when I was a heavy Emacs user.  She wrote a terrific book, A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging that is available as a free/pay what you want ebook.  There are many wonderful prompts and ideas to get you started blogging in this collection.
Digital powerups are keywords displayed as hashtags that are associated with corresponding prompts in online discussion forums allowing for student choice and voice.” (Thurston, 2019, p. 79)

Dr. Travis Thurston and Erin Wadsworth-Anderson describe an approach to designing online discussions that promote learner autonomy and higher-order thinking in their post, #DIGITALPOWERUPS (hosted on Adobe Spark).  The credit the idea to Brad Gustafson, citing page 15 of his bookRenegade Leadership: Creating Innovative Schools for Digital Age Students.  Dr. Thurston was also interviewed by Bonni Stachowiak on February 6, 2020 on Episode 295: Online Engagement Through Digital Powerups on the Teaching in Higher Education Podcast.

As I understand it, a digital powerup starts out as a discussion prompt that provides a few questions, just as you might have in a traditional online discussion.  But in addition, students are asked to respond by asking students to structure their responses according to Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy (Krathwohl, 2002).  They do this through the use of hashtags (e.g., #create, #remember) that are added to the end of portions of their responses.

#DigitalPowerups

Remember: List or restate something you just read; then, add an opinion in your response. Use #remember

Understand: Ask a question that will help you understand what you read. Allow a peer to respond to your question. Use #understand

Apply: Organize what you read into something new. Include a poem, chart, timeline, diagram, or model in your response. Use #apply

Analyze: Examine a quote you read, and then compare it to a different text. Explain why you think they’re related. Use #analyze

Evaluate: Critique something that you read in a respectful manner. Cite text-based evidence in your response. Use #evaluate

Create: Develop a novel response based on what you read using text, video or other supplies to innovate. Use #create

Connect: Connect to an issue outside of your school. Think globally, and share how collaborated in your response (this requires actual action on your part). Use #connect

I think that this is a fascinating idea and I am looking forward to attempting it in my online courses.

Sources:

Krathwohl, D. R. (2002). A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy: An overview. Theory Into Practice, 41(4), 212–218. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15430421tip4104_2

Thurston, T. (2019). #DigitalPowerups Scaffolds and Hashtags To Empower Higher-Order and Humanized Student Engagement in Online Discussions. In Architecture Of Engagement: Autonomy-Supportive Leadership for Instructional Improvement (pp. 79–147). Utah State University.

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