Reflecting On Change and Innovation

 

Tree reflected in a still lake.

Image by Bessi from Pixabay

My innovation plan started out as a design to provide professional learning experiences and support to adjunct faculty, to change the culture teaching and learning for part-time instructors at my institution.  This is in its implementation phase, but  has transformed into something much larger. In addition to the plan for adjunct faculty, we have implemented a professional learning plan for full-time faculty that goes beyond the sit-and-get development sessions to which they had become accustomed.

Work that is Under Way

We have implemented a Professional Learning Center providing professional learning experiences to all faculty. These professional learning opportunities that are designed around the needs of faculty, based on perceptions of instructional leadership, and on surveys and feedback of faculty. These sessions provide ongoing learning experiences for faculty, to help them improve their skills and abilities, to help them stay abreast of new trends in teaching and learning, and to share innovative strategies that are being implemented by their peers. Session leaders have come from our faculty, from our instructional leadership, administrators, and guests from outside the College.

Training courses have been created and launched for all faculty to develop an understanding of the learning management system (Blackboard). Completion of this course (Blackboard Academy) is required of all faculty (full- and part-time) within the first 8 weeks of their hire date. After all current faculty complete this course, the requirement for completion will be changed, requiring that all faculty complete the course prior to teaching a course at our institution.

Adjunct Faculty pay rate has become more competitive, but currently does not reflect the proposed changes that allow for incentivisation of learning experiences for part-time faculty.

My team has implemented a weekly blog, Click Here for More!, as well as a webpage for downloadable files (Download this!), and a page for short instructional videos (Got A Minute? Learn Something New!). I will continue adding resources to these pages, and organising them so that they are accessible and user-friendly for our faculty.

Changes that are still Pending

Refreshing the training course that focuses on quality course components at our institution needs to be revisited and refreshed. This will be completed by mid-December 2019.

My team is creating a library of training videos on the learning management system (Blackboard Learn), and on our established quality course guidelines to ensure that all faculty have access to these resources as needed, and on demand.

Opportunities for Growth and Change

To ensure that part-time faculty who are remote have opportunities to participate in these professional learning experiences, we tried to deliver face-to-face sessions simultaneously through Collaborate Ultra, a webinar experience. For the synchronous sessions, we initially attempted to deliver those at the same time we were providing face-to-face sessions. However that has not been 100% effective, and has required significant tweaking. Some of the opportunities for growth that have arisen from that have included:

  • Sessions that are delivered simultaneously in a face-to-face environment, and synchronously through Collaborate require a session facilitator to handle questions from remote viewers, and to share questions that the remote faculty may have.
  • We will try to create videos of the presentation, in a dress rehearsal environment to include in an online course environment for training sessions that are not conducive to simul-casting as face-to-face and synchronous webinar type sessions.
  • We have implemented one regularly scheduled professional learning activity each month that will be delivered only through Collaborate. This has been implemented as First Friday! and is held the first Friday of each month. Attendance has fluctuated since implementation, but has grown regularly.

Another area that could use improvement involves the professional learning sessions. To spark faculty interest, the administration incentivised participation (attendance in and/or leading) professional learning sessions. Faculty receive a stipend for attending 10 sessions. The issue with this is that the instructional leadership launched this part of the plan without establishing clear guidelines. As we move forward, we will be developing clear guidelines for what counts toward the stipend, and what does not count toward the stipend. Further, consideration will be given to those professional learning opportunities that are ongoing rather than one session. Evidence of implementation, through the use of online portfolios will be a requirement also, as we move to year 2 of this project.


 

References

Bessi. (N.D.) Tree Lake Reflection Water Calm [Photograph]. Retreived from Pixabay.