Tweeting Teachers and Pinterest Professors: Social Media Lessons from a Community of Educators as Learners

I’m attending the IFWE 2016 conference in San Antonio, TX and live blogging the sessions I’m attending.

Starting off today with a preconference session by Stephanie Thompson, PhD, Faculty and Course Lead who teaches for Kaplan University. Contributors for this session included Barbara Green, Teresa Marie Kelly, and Josef Vice, other Kaplan faculty.

Faculty Driven Learning Communities

The idea is that faculty can learn together online, because it might be hard to travel to attend conferences – and social media can be a way for doing that.

As we do introductions, I think it’s so interesting what makes people come to a session. I’m mostly interested in the social media side – but the faculty development / professional learning idea is really critical too – and I’m looking forward to seeing how social media can connect faculty for learning.  

This is a cool graphic shared from EdSurge Guides – to help focus on the idea of personalized learning / personal learning networks – driving your own learning. I am so fascinated by the change to self-driven learning – in the context of thinking about our self-paced courses – which often are looked at somewhat askance – but really, the Internet allows us to learn at our own time and with the people we choose. That’s a different type of learning!

Things to Learn About

One comparison that Stephanie is making is the difference between Career Development and Professional Development. That career development is more about learning how to climb the ladder – leadership training, learning how to be a department chair (thinking of CIC’s workshop on that), support for research publication. But professional development is more life long and focuses more on teaching. So what all do faculty need to learn about?

  • technology tools in teaching
  • more teaching strategies
  • providing quality feedback
  • using different resources like OER etc.
  • how to progress in their career
  • learning about advising
  • learning about supervising or leading others
  • building skills for ongoing learning
  • classroom management
  • data and assessment collection and evaluation
  • increasing content knowledge
  • tools for organizing and planning your career development
  • think about the next job you want – and then start your learning heading in that direction
  • how to build curriculum based on outcomes

Specific Strategies

These are specific professional development strategies that caught my attention…

  • Observing each other’s teaching – I love this idea. Thinking about how we could set that up so that our online faculty could observe each other’s teaching. What would it take to do that in a fully asychronous course? what kind of structures would help make that happen?
  • Requiring a certain number of hours of training – Kaplan requires 8 hours of training a year for their online faculty. What would it take to do this? Could we do it for all online faculty – both adjuncts and full time? Could it be framed to be received well?
  • Using Trello to plan career/professional development – using a tool to track your personal goals, resources, and accomplishments
  • Have an Appy Hour and have everyone connected share round robin all the different tools and resources they like and use – shared by Elaine Shuck

Forms of Professional Development

  • Open, user-generated content like blogs and wikis
  • Social networking tools like twitter, reddit, etc.; Google+ or Facebook group about a topic
  • Virtual communities – google groups etc
  • Webinars
  • Virtual conferences
  • MOOCs / open courses

Resources Shared

Places to keep learning – social media based professional development – webinars etc. – places to learn online…. These are shared by the presenter, Stephanie

Other resources and cool things shared throughout the session:

Main Takeaway

Social media and online resources allow anyone to organize, track, and design their own professional development and learning!

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