2016 Digital Pedagogy Summer Institute –
Steps in continuous improvement
By Jaya Kannan, Former Director, Digital Learning
As we all know, we usually have to teach a course three times before we can arrive at a crystallized curriculum, a better understanding of how to deliver the material, and more importantly, know what to avoid. The same can be said for running the Digital Pedagogy Summer Institute. After reviewing the valuable lessons we gained in developing and running the 2014 and 2015 Summer Institutes, and applying feedback from the faculty who participated in those institutes, we made several improvements to our program for the 2016 Summer Institute that ran from May 16 to 20th.
Here are a few highlights:
Philosophy of community of practice: The program’s philosophy of wanting to build a community of learning remains a strength in our academic vision. So, this year for the first time, in addition to the twenty faculty (who participated from five different colleges), we included a team of participants from the academic support services because of the vital role they play in supporting faculty and students accomplish their teaching and learning goals. The academic support services team comprised of staff from the Ryan Matura library, the Jandrisevits Learning center, and the English Language Institute.
Schedule: We moved the summer institute from the first week of June to the third week of May, immediately after the spring semester ended. This allowed participating faculty to attend the Institute as soon as classes ended and gave them more flexibility in planning their summer breaks.
Workshops Methodology: Our tried and tested methodology of running workshops in the morning sessions and devoting the afternoons to project-building by participants continued this year as well. However, we made a major improvement to our morning sessions – in the 9:15-10:15 a.m. sessions, we demonstrated several digital teaching applications focused on the thematic topic for that day. On Day 1, for example, our thematic focus was on designing interactive learning using audio, video, and other media tools. A demo and discussion of “Ten ways of interactive teaching using digital media” was followed by three concurrent sessions that showed how to create the teaching objects using hands-on activities. Faculty were exposed to many brainstorming ideas in the 9:15-10:15 a.m. session. In the follow up 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. session, faculty chose a hands-on session based on their selected digital approach/tool from the earlier demo and discussion session. In this way, the program provided multiple opportunities for faculty to develop as digital pedagogues. Concomitantly, the program met a wide range of faculty needs.
Exhibition style sharing of teaching objects: The first two years of the Summer Institute, faculty participants presented their projects one at a time. These sessions, although excellent, took too much time and sorely lacked engagement. So, this year, the final presentation session was converted to exhibition style show and tell. Faculty and staff participants were assigned a booth each and they presented the teaching objects they had developed by doing a show and tell using their laptops. Attendees could walk around the large space inside the Forum and engage in deep conversations about teaching and learning. Everyone without exception agreed that this was much more meaningful, rewarding, and efficient to create intellectual academic conversations than passively sitting and attending a presentation.