Cowboys and Cats: Herding Instructors (to show presence) Without Getting All Scratched Up

I’m attending the IFWE 2016 conference in San Antonio, TX and live blogging sessions. The bagels and croissants are yummy!

Presented by: Samantha Penney (Indiana State University)

Cats and Cowboys are our roles as faculty and instructional designers. We are the cowboys herding the cats, faculty, to add instructor presence in their courses. We will discuss the cat’s characteristics and how we can use design to help herd them in the direction our trail boss wants.

Samantha is being super creative – as we come in – pull a cat or a cowboy out of a bag. What will we do?? I sense something creative coming!

Of course, she starts off with the Herding Cats video – love that video!

Definition of Instructor Presence

Community of Inquiry is the theory – teaching presence. (Anderson et al 2001; Davis & Roblyer 2005, Sheridan and Kelly 2016) – a sense of social and cognitive presence – how you tie that into the classroom – do students know you are there and are guiding their learning? being responsible to establish

What are Cats Like?

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CartoonStock.com

  • independent
  • they don’t care
  • they are opinionated
  • self-centered
  • social
  • hunting
  • balance
  • good at jumping
  • stretchy

What are Faculty Like?

  • Independent
  • Authority
  • Solitary
  • Sense of Ownership
  • Great Balance

Faculty may not always understand why faculty presence is so important.

Another great video for cat herding is the mythbusters video on the cat corral.

Kitty Treats

Interesting discussion around what “treats” can persuade faculty to be present in their online courses…

  • An empty box is so fun for a cat. How can we start instead of pushing a tool or strategy, but ask questions to find out what faculty want to do and what dreams they have.
  • Hearing from colleagues – faculty like to hear from each other
  • Food for workshops
  • Feedback sandwich: positive, negative, positive
  • Online teaching certificate course – with a stipend – requires meeting with an instructional designer
  • Tools like Softchalk etc.
  • Research that supports the best practices – nice overview and collection in this lit review by Chakraborty and Nafukho (2015)
  • An interesting set of roles of being present: facilitator, mentor, devil’s advocate, moderator, repository, etc. Question posed – how can we help take some of these roles off the shoulders of our faculty – ideas included co-teaching, adding resources to help reduce questions from students
  • Faculty want to play with tools at their own pace  – open workshops to play with a tool at their own time with someone on hand in case of challenges

Takeaways

Remember you are a cat also! We all need herding at one time or another. Remember how that feels. No one likes being herded!

The thing that’s clear is that instructional design and online course support is hugely about support and persuasion. And it takes relationship building to be a team between the online design expert and the subject matter expert.

Nice hands-on creative playing, Samantha!

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