Title

Communities of Practice: Moving Along the Blended Learning Adoption Curve at the Small Liberal Arts College

Streaming Media

Submission Type

Event

Abstract

Starting in the spring semester of 2014, the educational technology team at Wheaton College launched its “communities of practice,” a new support model for blended learning meant to address the challenges that have arisen with broadening interest from the faculty. The goals of these communities is to 1) support blended faculty in groups of common interest 2) facilitate mutual support and knowledge sharing amongst these groups and 3) disseminate and publicize the projects and consensus-derived best practices related to blended learning to the wider faculty. After surveying faculty for topics of interest, the educational technology department settled on two pilot groups: “Clouds and Crowds,” a group organized around collaborative and crowdsourcing technologies in teaching and “Flips and Clips,” centered on “the flipped classroom” and the broader creation/use of digital media between class sessions. Soft launch of both pilot groups has used a blended model with "first pass" participation occuring over new list-servs, where members actively share projects, support, and questions. In the second step, each group meets to draft a resource for other faculty considering the use of related technologies and pedagogies in their teaching. As blended pedagogy spreads beyond the early adoption phase at Wheaton College, the educational technology team’s support for the model must also enter a new phase in order to keep up with the developing need. Wider adoption and flat staffing require new efficiencies without sacrificing the quality of support. As the needs of our early adopters have matured, they have also begun to diverge in some ways from the needs of the growing group of faculty with high interest but little experience with blended learning. Finally, in a context where the majority of faculty still have yet to consider blended learning in their own classrooms, expanding the conversation about its benefits, limitations, and best practices remains an ongoing goal. This presentation would detail the goals, context, and progress of the “communities of practice” support model will also inviting comment from colleagues at other institutions, particularly those also facing the challenges and opportunities that come with wider adoption of blended learning.

Session

Session 3: Supporting Faculty Experimentation

Location

Thomas 110

Start Date

5-21-2014 1:30 PM

End Date

5-21-2014 2:20 PM

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May 21st, 1:30 PM May 21st, 2:20 PM

Communities of Practice: Moving Along the Blended Learning Adoption Curve at the Small Liberal Arts College

Thomas 110

Starting in the spring semester of 2014, the educational technology team at Wheaton College launched its “communities of practice,” a new support model for blended learning meant to address the challenges that have arisen with broadening interest from the faculty. The goals of these communities is to 1) support blended faculty in groups of common interest 2) facilitate mutual support and knowledge sharing amongst these groups and 3) disseminate and publicize the projects and consensus-derived best practices related to blended learning to the wider faculty. After surveying faculty for topics of interest, the educational technology department settled on two pilot groups: “Clouds and Crowds,” a group organized around collaborative and crowdsourcing technologies in teaching and “Flips and Clips,” centered on “the flipped classroom” and the broader creation/use of digital media between class sessions. Soft launch of both pilot groups has used a blended model with "first pass" participation occuring over new list-servs, where members actively share projects, support, and questions. In the second step, each group meets to draft a resource for other faculty considering the use of related technologies and pedagogies in their teaching. As blended pedagogy spreads beyond the early adoption phase at Wheaton College, the educational technology team’s support for the model must also enter a new phase in order to keep up with the developing need. Wider adoption and flat staffing require new efficiencies without sacrificing the quality of support. As the needs of our early adopters have matured, they have also begun to diverge in some ways from the needs of the growing group of faculty with high interest but little experience with blended learning. Finally, in a context where the majority of faculty still have yet to consider blended learning in their own classrooms, expanding the conversation about its benefits, limitations, and best practices remains an ongoing goal. This presentation would detail the goals, context, and progress of the “communities of practice” support model will also inviting comment from colleagues at other institutions, particularly those also facing the challenges and opportunities that come with wider adoption of blended learning.