CCCOnline Community Course and Cultivating Excellence Blog (Instructor Lounge and Communication Blog)

CCCOnline Community Course and Cultivating Excellence Blog (Instructor Lounge and Communication Blog)

Community, Communication, Adjuncts, Engagement, Collaboration
  • Adjuncts
  • Collaboration
  • Community Engagement
3.25
Average: 3.3 (8 votes)
Colorado Community Colleges Online (CO)
http://www.ccconline.org/
http://cccoexcellence.blogspot.com/

CCCOnline is the Online Consortium for the Colorado Community College System. CCCOnline provides online education for over 35,000 students annually and system-wide support for Desire2Learn.

  • Systems

PURPOSE

Among a large community of online adjunct instructors and staff, how do you build a sense of community and open communication? In many ways e-mail is the "old" way of communicating among a group, making it one to one and not in a viewable, historic thread of ideas. Another solution more accessible by all at any point in the conversation was needed.

  • Develop a sense of community among fully online adjunct instructors

  • Provide forums for adjunct instructors as a whole to discuss and collaborate on pedagogy, technology, and every day topics. Instructors are encouraged to share their experiences, ideas, challenges, and solutions.

  • Provide "secure" forums for departments to openly discuss pedagogical and technical teaching problems, solutions, and course development projects.

  • Mentor new faculty in discipline specific discussions.

DESCRIPTION

Originally, the CCCOnline Community Course in D2L was developed to conduct D2L training for more than 300 adjunct instructors over a six week period. The goals were to prepare instructors for the new learning management system and to develop a sense of a private community among staff and faculty who function in a fully online environment. After the migration to the new LMS was complete, the community evolved into a number of open and discipline specific forums, or faculty lounges. In one all-instructor forum the Quality Assurance Coordinator collaborates with staff to post weekly pedagogical and technology topics to be discussed among the staff and instructors in the discussion for the week. The topics addressed can be viewed at our Cultivating Excellence Blog, http://cccoexcellence.blogspot.com/ . Additionally, each Division has a "private" lounge using the D2L groups tool to divide instructors providing access to just the faculty in that Division to openly discuss teaching problems and solutions with students and courses. Disciplines also use this space in a collaborative way during development projects and to identify items that need to be fixed quickly such as a broken link. In the discipline specific lounges, coaching and mentoring by seasoned faculty also occurs for new instructors who can ask their peers about course design, pedagogy, and even technology issues. Since the lounges are private and require a D2L log in, they are not available for the public.

1. Desire to Learn Shell open to all staff and faculty 2. Shared documents and important information that needs the security of a log in shared in Content. 3. All staff and instructor forums including but not limited to Bulletin Board, Cultivating Excellence Discussion, Student Retention Discussion, and D2L questions discussion. 4. Discipline specific discussions for brainstorming, communication, and mentoring. 5. Use of Groups tool to divide faculty and streamline access to only the forums they need to be part of.

  • How frequently are faculty visiting community

  • How frequently are faculty visiting Cultivating Excellence Blog

  • Were new faculty welcomed and found assistance in the Community?

  • Are faculty intermingling among disciplines and building a sense of community?

While some faculty do not visit the CCCOnline Community Course often, others find it a useful regular communication tool and outlet. Some instructors post frequent comments, but most faculty at least read or access content in discussions and in content. Some discussions like Cultivating Excellence has many visits and posts from instructors. Other discipline specific discussions have really high attendance as well, particularly among the Math instructors with nearly 700 posts in their forums in the last year. New faculty are added to the community course after they are hired. Training efforts are being made to introduce them to this resource early and established faculty are encouraged to welcome and answer questions of their new peers. While a new expectation, some current faculty are embracing the leadership role in the community. The Cultivating Excellence blog not only has readers from CCCOnline and the Colorado Community College System, but it also is visited by people from across the country and world.

While use varies among Divisions and individuals, the availability and general usefulness to instructors seems to build a sense of support and community with shared goals and practices among the disciplines.

RESOURCES AND LESSONS LEARNED

1. Course design leadership 2. Assigned facilitators or leaders of discussion boards 3. Learning Management System 4. Staff, Instructor involvement 5. Minimal training to locate and use tools since most are using them in their online courses that they teach

  • Learning Management System

  • Time-Extra duty as assigned to manage discussions and content

  • Advertise resource often

  • Give instructors a reason to visit

  • Give instructors a new reason to visit

  • Make discussions and content easy to navigate and friendly

  • Avoid one voice or facilitator running all open discussions

  • Establish some community rules to avoid violations of privacy and chain of command

  • Leadership must set the example of participation

  • While not everyone contributes, many learn just by having access and reading comments by others

Encourage more active and frequent participation across disciplines by instructors in discussions and debates and topics around pedagogy and technology. Develop a way to draw new instructors into conversations.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

http://www.ccconline.org/ http://cccoexcellence.blogspot.com/

Karen Kaemmerling
Social Science Associate Academic Dean
CCCOnline
9026 E Severn Place
Denver, Colorado 80134
Phone: 720-858-2765

karen.kaemmerling@cccs.edu

Karen Kaemmerling
Social Science Associate Academic Dean
CCCOnline
9026 E Severn Place
Denver, Colorado 80134
Phone: 720-858-2765

karen.kaemmerling@cccs.edu