Redesigning your curriculum: Using faculty learning communities to develop online/hybrid Mason core courses

Jessie Matthews, Brian Fitzpatrick, Billy Howell, Kerry Folan, Ying-Ying Kuo, Ben Brezner

Session Information

Year: 2017 | Time: 3:35pm-4:15pm | Location: PANEL & ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: Johnson Center (Room E)

Abstract

BRIEF SESSION DESCRIPTION:

With the imminent demolition and reconstruction of Robinson A, the English Department will face a classroom shortage for many of the 200+ sections of the Mason Core courses it offers each semester. To reconcile the classroom shortage with the ongoing demand for course offerings, English will need to shift some of those sections to online and hybrid platforms, a challenge that requires not only the development of course templates but also the training of faculty who will teach these courses. This interactive panel session explains how we used the faculty learning community (FLC) model to develop and teach online/hybrid courses in the Mason Core, including the organization of the faculty learning community, the administrative partnerships needed to fund and support it, and the praxis and templates we used (collaborative research, implementation, analysis, reflection, and revision) to create our courses and prepare others to teach them.  This model can be adapted by other disciplines.

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FULL ABSTRACT: With the imminent demolition and reconstruction of Robinson A, the English Department will face a classroom shortage for many of the 200+ sections of the Mason Core courses it offers each semester. To reconcile the classroom shortage with the ongoing demand for course offerings, English will need to shift some of those sections to online and hybrid platforms, a challenge that requires not only the development of course templates but also the training of faculty who will teach these courses. This interactive panel session explains how we used the faculty learning community (FLC) model to develop and teach online/hybrid courses in the Mason Core (Written Communication--Lower and Upper and Literature). The session covers the organization of the faculty learning community, the administrative partnerships needed to fund and support it, and the praxis we used (collaborative research, implementation, analysis, reflection, and revision) to create our courses and prepare others to teach them. 

We want to emphasize the importance of community in our learning process. By involving a diverse set of seven faculty (full-time instructors, GTAs, and instructional designers) in the learning community, we were able to amplify and enhance what would traditionally have been a solo online course development project for each of us. The variety of perspectives we brought was crucial to our project, especially given the array of course types we developed, our different levels of preparation to design and teach online/hybrid courses, and our responsibility to the faculty who will teach the courses we created: new-to-teaching TAs, and faculty (adjunct, term, and tenure track) new to online pedagogy. 

Presenters will briefly describe their FLC experiences, present the course templates they designed, and share their lessons learned in order to encourage discussion among participants who might be contemplating similar online/hybrid course development projects. 

We hope the dialogue among participants will address the practical and pedagogical concerns, as well as the risks and rewards, of offering online/hybrid Mason Core courses, especially to undergraduates such as first-semester freshman.

 

Keywords

learning spaces; teaching online; hybrid courses

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