Redesigning Your Curriculum: Using Faculty Learning Communities to Develop Online/Hybrid Mason Core Courses

  • Jessie Matthews George Mason University; English Department
  • Brian Fitzpatrick George Mason University; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; English Department
  • Billy Howell George Mason University; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; English Department
  • Kerry Folan George Mason University; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; English Department
  • Ying-Ying Kuo George Mason University; Office of Digital Learning
  • Ben Brezner George Mason University; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; English Department
Keywords: learning spaces, teaching online, hybrid courses

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.

 

Author Biographies

Jessie Matthews, George Mason University; English Department
Jessie Matthews is a professor of English.
Brian Fitzpatrick, George Mason University; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; English Department
Brian Fitzpatrick is an assistant professor of creative writing in the English department at George Mason Unviersity.
Billy Howell, George Mason University; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; English Department
Billy Howell is an asssitant professor of composition at George Mason University.
Kerry Folan, George Mason University; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; English Department
Kerry Folan is a writer and a term assistant professor in the English department at George Mason University. Her teaching interests include online learning, problem-based learning, and the teaching of writing and literature.
Ying-Ying Kuo, George Mason University; Office of Digital Learning

Ying-Ying Kuo is an instructional designer for the Office of Digital Learning at George Mason University.

Ben Brezner, George Mason University; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; English Department

Ben Brezner is a professor in the English department at George Mason University.

Published
2017-06-06