“Have you done a Boot Camp? Are you interested in doing a boot camp for instructors who have an assigned course in January 2017 – who may not have done any course development or real planning yet?” The message came through in late November from a former colleague of mine, Laurie Prange-Martin – now working at Capilano University as the new Manager, Learning and Teaching Development.
We tossed ideas around, collected them in a shared Googledoc and finally arrived at a concept and rough layout that seemed like a good fit. In the melee, we discovered a shared interest in strategies to overcome procrastination (i.e., the Pomodoro technique) and the idea of a “design sprint” instead of a “boot camp”. I tossed in some ideas around studio-based learning, and brain-based education research (gleaned from a recent MOOC on Learning How to Learn from University of California, San Diego) and we were off!
We explored our perceptions of the needs of our intended audience – “the learners” and then developed a pre-workshop “inquiry”. Based on advice from a CapU expert, Laurie adapted my original draft questions to include specific options for answers mixed with a few open-ended questions. Potential participants were encouraged to complete the survey, even if they couldn’t attend this delivery, to ensure that future offerings of the 2-day workshop would address faculty needs.
I investigated the “context” for course design at CapU and found various resources and people available to support faculty with educational technologies, Universal Design for Learning and the policies and procedures of the institution..
I developed a Moodle site to provide an online space that the instructors could continue to use after the 2-day Sprint AND that could be adapted by a new facilitator drawn from CapU faculty to deliver in the future. The basic units were
- “Launchpad”- a place to welcome participants, gather information to launch the workshop, and a place to return to to review and reflect materials we explored during the workshop;
- “Making Meaning” – a place to develop participants’ understanding of Course-Lesson planning and development that began from short learning activities and information embedded in collaborative wikis; and
- “Our Studio” – an open forum to share the results of various design-build efforts.
I developed a draft Schedule with a mixture of active learning activities, Lightning Talks (10 min presentations) and focused design/production cycles (1.5 hours). Participants chose their production environment and tools and I provided some guidance to new instructors as they identified their specific objectives and focused on design/production.
My intention was to apply some of the brain-based techniques I’d learned during a recent MOOC by “shifting” participants from active learning of new ideas (or review of prior knowledge) to their own personal analysis and planning and then to structured cycles of focused thinking and production/design. I built in points for reflection and sharing of progress so they could share and explain their tasks to the group.
Like the “Shift and Share” structure (http://www.liberatingstructures.com/11-shift-share/) we took turns sharing different experiences and knowledge to scaffold design and development tasks each individual faced. My emergent outline also shifted constantly on the first day due to the realities of unexpected snowfall and the distances several of the participants had to commute to get to the campus.
What was the outcome – from my perspective – from the participants’ perspectives? I’m still compiling “lessons learned” and mulling over recommendations for future development and delivery of this workshop. It seems to have “struck a chord” with the instructors who attended; hopefulling CapU will continue to develop this two day immersive workshop and begin to involve faculty and sessional instructors to encourage a continuing focus on quality education and course design.
It was a fun and challenging project. I’ll be extracting learning nuggets and sharing them as I apply what I’ve learned in future projects.
Any stories you might share about any course design/development events you’ve attended or facilitated?