Eat & Learn! Communities of Practice 2.0

As promised, here is the entire grant. Today the FLC Facilitators met, and I shared my team’s joke about professional learning. When you pay a stipend, you encourage teachers to Learn & Earn. When you provide food, you encourage teachers to Eat & Learn. As Jen Whetham reminded us today about FLCs, “development is not linear” and we can “re-scale our expectations.”

Yes.

So here’s what I’ve learned in the one year I’ve been thinking about this project: the research on FLCs is pretty dated. It doesn’t fit into my worldview. Albeit I’ve learned a lot about the history of making a case for FLCs, it doesn’t help me plan for the future of teaching and learning I’d like to see. What I’ve read does not even begin to tap into the potential of the digital space.

We need a Communities of Practice 2.0 that incorporates the digital space.

The literature, as it exists, is about getting people together to talk, think, and create in the face-to-face settting. The brick and mortar model. The person-to-person–which still needs to exist. We just need some fluidity in the definition of an FLC. Let me be clear: I’m not advocating that we shut down the F2F FLC model. I am not shutting down the idea of meeting as an FLC. I am not saying that we should all do what I want to do. As Bob Dylan says, “That ain’t me, babe.”

This FLC model didn’t work for me and what I’m into these days. On my other blog, I’ve gotten into other forms of collaboration that I truly think could work for people who are interested in teaching and learning. If you’ve spent more than an hour talking to me lately, I’ve talked about the federated wiki. I have no research or data to back this hypothesis up, but I think there is another way people can collaborate and learn from one another. I can feel it in my bones that this can and will work. (Check out my other blog for more information. Put “The Happening” and “Teaching Machines” in your favorite search engine. Do some reading. Dig it? Contact me).

Yes. We need a Communities of Practice 2.0 using the digital space.

I think we need to blow up the edges of the FLC model and expand its potential to include the digital space. The FLC model, as it stands, works for small-scale professional learning that is campus-specific. Departments and divisions can change their cultures bit by bit with the FLC model. Administrators on campuses should fund their faculty to spend this time together. You can create an FLC to Eat and Learn.

Looking at things from the state board perspective, I agree with them–we need to think Big Picture with this consortium. Read the news lately? We kind of rock. We’ve got some really cool things happening, and I want to share those ideas with other folks. They shouldn’t have to recreate the wheel every time when the digital space could help us roll together. Other people have been writing about this for years. Years.

I want to collaborate with people at other institutions the same way that my eLearning Council works. It’s the most healthy and productive group of people that I’ve ever worked with, and this is an experience that other people should have. I can help make this happen, and so can you.

But first, I want you to steal my grant. Here it is in its entirety below. Take it. Share it. Revise it. I have licensed it for everyone to use. The call for FLC grants is about to begin, and if you’ve got a vision for something that would help your corner of the world, then copy and paste and revise.

Here’s the only thing I ask of you:

Tell me what you did with it. Tell me how you failed. Tell me what you learned. Tell me what you would have done differently. Tell me what you revised. Tell me what you loved. Tell me what you disliked. Tell me why. Tell me how. Tell me.

And expect that I’ll share what you told me with somebody else. I’ll invite you to do it first, and if you’re scared, I’ll do it. I’ll lead the way be failing first, I promise. Will that help you? Will erasing the fear of failure help us see a different community of practice? Will that help us create a community of practice within and beyond this consortium? Tell me.


The 1A-C is personal information, and what follows is the rest of the grant.

1D. What is the specific topic you will study during the 2014-15 academic year (a “title” for your FLC)?

Five Star Faculty Development: Connecting the Consortium to Support Teaching and Learning

1E. Which of the two categories best fits your topic of study?

Assessment, Teaching, and Learning

eLearning

1F. Write an overview of the topic your members will study. Please include one or two overarching questions FLC members will contemplate.

Our goal is to strengthen cross-campus collaboration about faculty professional development

among the Five Star Consortium schools. As a consortium, we have identified a common

need to rework, revise, and/or revitalize our Teaching and Learning Centers (TLCs). Our

digital artifacts concerning professional development will be innovative, scalable, and

replicable for other schools outside of the Five Star Consortium.

Below are the two overarching questions that our FLC will contemplate for our Big Ideas:

  1. In what ways can we share resources in order to create/strengthen our Teaching and Learning Centers without duplicating labor within the Five Star Consortium?
  1. How do you create a community of practice concerning faculty professional development?

Below are the three additional questions that we interested in addressing to meet the needs of our individual institutions:

  1. In what ways can we incentivize professional development for all faculty?
  2. What are sustainable faculty development best practices?
  3. How do you institutionalize professional development practices and policies?

ALIGNMENT, OUTCOMES, AND ASSESSMENT

2A. Provide three to five goals (short and long-term) for the FLC.

  1. Collaborate as a team with the Five Star Consortium for the common need of reworking, revising, and/or revitalizing teaching and learning centers.
  1. Identify common faculty professional development needs among the Five Star Consortium schools.
  1. Create resources that are scalable and replicable for other schools outside of the five star consortium.
  1. Share a Canvas shell of modules with the SBCTC eLearning Repository as our digital artifact.
  1. Establish methods of creating, revitalizing, and sustaining Teaching and Learning Centers.

2B. Convert these goals into three to four measurable outcomes for the FLC.

1.Collaborate with the Five Star Consortium for the common need of reworking, revising, or revitalizing TLCs.

  1. Identify common faculty professional development needs among the Five Star Consortium schools.
  1. Generate resources that are scalable and replicable for other schools outside of the Five Star Consortium.
  1. Produce a Canvas shell that is shared on the SBCTC eLearning Repository as our digital artifact that is licensed CC BY.
  1. Identify strategies for creating, revitalizing, and sustaining faculty development (such as TLCs, Faculty Institutes, Faculty Academies etc).

2C. What activities will members use to achieve these goals?

  • We plan to have monthly face-to-face meetings rotating at each of the five institutions. In addition, we’ll use Blackboard Collaborate to meet online at least once a month to discuss our research.
  • We would like to have a two-day retreat for FLC members with guests from other schools. Our vision for this project is to invite professional development coordinators from other schools, such as Joanne Munroe from Tacoma Community College, so we can learn about their models for faculty professional development.
  • Create Canvas shell of modules with our Big Ideas connected to our overarching questions listed in Section One, Part f.
  • Write conference proposals and present at the Assessment, Teaching, and Learning 2015 conference.
  • Participate in IGNIS Webinars as requested by the SBCTC.
  • As a long-term goal, we want to apply for the 2015-2016 FLC grant to plan a mini Five Star Professional Development conference by rotating locations among the Five Star Consortium campuses. In other words, this year we will research and develop our vision for TLCs in order to continue our collaboration with our faculty.

2D. What methods will you use to assess your FLC’s progress towards those outcomes?

After our first meeting, we will create a timeline for research, discussions, and activities using the Canvas Calendar feature. In addition, we will create and maintain a blog about our progress which can be connected to the eLearning FlipBoard Blog established by Renee Carney. The co-facilitators will create the blog and the other members will be invited to participate and contribute. We see our blog as another digital artifact which can serve as a model for the process of reworking, revising, or revitalizing TLCs. The blog will make our learning process transparent and collaborative for other institutions outside of the Five Star Consortium. Create a Canvas shell that is shared on the SBCTC eLearning Repository as our digital artifact that will be licensed CC BY.

2E. What tells you there a need for this FLC at your institution(s)?

At EvCC, we need to rebrand our Teaching and Learning Center after the retirement of our professional development coordinator and the hiring of our new Director of eLearning. Melody Schneider from EdCC reached to us to research what we are doing as a college. After our discussion, we saw a common need for either rebranding, revising, and/or establishing new goals for TLCs to meet the needs of 21st century faculty. In addition, Peg and I were asked to do a presentation for the spring Instruction Commission about faculty development for both full-time and part-time faculty. Here is the wiki link to our presentation materials: http://bit.ly/1g0pR6l

EdCC created a new model for Faculty Development in 2013-14, but they have struggled with a lack of funds to support what they want to do. By partnering with other colleges in the region, they will be able to offer more opportunities to EdCC faculty and substantiate the need for funding. At Shoreline, they are hiring a Professional Development Coordinator as a result of our initial meeting about this grant. Lake Washington Technical Institute and Cascadia Community College have joined this project in order to strengthen the networking ties of the Five-Star Consortium.

2F. What connections do you see between the learning that will occur in your FLC and student success?

As a group we are philosophically and pedagogically in agreement that faculty support and student success are intertwined. We believe that student success initiatives such as Achieve The Dream, the Completion Agenda, and other strategic initiatives are motivating ideas to restructure professional development on campuses. Many of the initiatives stress the importance of “Week 1 for Students” and we see a dire need to create “Week 0 for Faculty.” In other words, the cornerstone of student success is prepared faculty members. By highlighting student success, we can reimagine what is possible for professional development for faculty. The 2010 Memorandum of Understanding for the creation of the Five Star Consortium highlights the “goal of maximizing efficiencies and promoting institutional coordination and collaboration.” Our project will maximize our collective effort as a community of practice for faculty professional development. Below we have selected our campus mission statements to show meaningful intersections of common need and interest in our strategic plans.

CCC Mission Statement:

Every individual is supported and engaged in lifelong learning.

EdCC Mission Statement:

Edmonds Community College strengthens our diverse community by helping students access educational and career opportunities in a supportive environment that encourages success, innovation, service, and lifelong learning.

EvCC Mission Statement:

EvCC creates life-changing educational opportunities where students become active learners who strengthen our diverse local and global communities.

LWTI Mission Statement:

To prepare students for today’s careers and tomorrow’s opportunities.

SCC Mission Statement:

We are dedicated to serving the educational, workforce and cultural needs of our diverse community.


COLLABORATION

3A. How often does the FLC plan to meet? Weekly, bi-weekly, or other?

We plan to have monthly face-to-face meetings rotating to each of the five institutions. In addition, we’ll use Blackboard Collaborate to meet online at least once a month to discuss our research. We’ll also use Canvas Discussions to post ideas, reading suggestions, and Canvas shell developments. The two-day retreat will take place during winter quarter.

3B. How does the FLC plan to meet? Example: face-to-face, online, hybrid, or other.

We plan to have monthly face-to-face meetings rotating to each of the five institutions. In addition, we’ll use Blackboard Collaborate to meet online at least once a month to discuss our research synchronously. We’ll also use Canvas to collaborate asynchronously.

3C. How you will encourage and support the full participation of all of the FLC members to create an inclusive learning community?

We will start off in the fall brainstorming for Big Ideas from each institution to focus on four areas of professional development to meet the diverse yet overlapping needs for part-time faculty, full-time faculty, and professional technical faculty. All five institutions will be included in the creation of the digital artifacts; the Canvas shell and the blog.

3D. How will the organization of the FLC ensure that work will be shared equitably, and not left solely on the shoulders of the designated facilitator?

The co-facilitators will ensure that the work will be shared equitably by delegating each Big Idea (in response to our overarching questions) to the representative(s) who will take an area of expertise for the good of the whole group. For instance, one common need is to address professional development practices for adjunct faculty. Working together in pairs or in trios will expedite our research and implementation of best practices at our home institutions.


DISSEMINATION

4A. What digital artifacts will the FLC develop? How do these artifacts connect with the FLC outcomes? How will these artifacts serve as resources to other instructors?

We will create reproducible and scalable modules and materials within Canvas that will be distributed on the SBCTC eLearning repository by our co-facilitator, Alyson Indrunas who is a member of the ELC. Our objectives and artifacts reflect the FLC grant outcomes because our project aligns with state-level initiatives for college-wide student success. Since most professional development is housed in or associate with eLearning, we see our project as a resource for other institutions beyond the Five Star Consortium.

4B. How will the FLC disseminate its knowledge, expertise, experience, and digital artifacts to its home institution(s)?

We will disseminate our knowledge, expertise, experience, and digital artifacts by creating a blog to make our learning public for future learning communities within the SBCTC Consortium and beyond. At the end of our project we will have created, revised, or revitalized our Teaching and Learning Centers with our research and collaboration. In addition, we will collaborate on another FLC grant in 2015-2016 to present mini-conferences to the Five Star Consortium schools.

4C. How will the FLC disseminate its knowledge, expertise, experience, and digital artifacts to the larger ATL community?

Our project will be disseminated to the larger ATL community in the following ways. We will share 1] reproducible and scalable modules and materials within Canvas that can be distributed on the SBCTC and 2] propose and present at the ATL 2015 conference, 3] present at IGNIS webinars, and 4] create our TLC blog.


BUDGET NARRATIVE

As applicable, describe how your college will use funds from this grant. See FLC fiscal guidelines, which you can find in the “grant info” section of OGMS, for more information on how funds may be spent.

5A. Describe how your college will use funds from this grant for salaries, wages, and benefits. See FLC fiscal guidelines for information on allowable costs.

NOTE: Grant funds may be used to pay to provide a nominal amount of pay for faculty or staff to coordinate the FLC but may not be used to compensate for FLC members’ time while participating in FLC activities.

5B. Describe how your college will use funds from this grant for goods and services. See FLC fiscal guidelines for information on allowable costs.

We are not asking for stipends related to compensation for co-facilitators’ time. We see this project as part of our job description as service to the institution and the consortium. We plan to use this amount for food purchased for our meetings and the two-day retreat. We will also purchase books for the members out of this budget.

5C. Describe how your college will use funds from this grant for travel. See FLC fiscal guidelines for information on allowable costs.

We plan to reimburse members for their travel to face-to-face meetings and the two-day retreat.

5D. Describe how your college will use funds from this grant for contracts. See FLC fiscal guidelines for information on allowable costs.

Salary and Wages $0.00

Employee Benefits $0.00

Goods and Services $2,500.00

Travel $2,500.00


Good luck with your grant, fellow educator. You can read previous posts to understand my rationale if that helps you get started. Rock on.

From now on, I will blog about our Unconference, the artifacts that we are creating, and my plans for the next FLC I’d like to try. And most likely, I’ll blog about my next failure. Maybe it will help you avoid the same fate. Tune in.

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