Creative collaboration: Supporting systems-level change through cross-functional, interdisciplinary, multi-organizational, distance teams.

Concurrent Session 6
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

The purpose of this interactive session is to explore the conditions that impact collaboration in boundary-spanning partnerships. Through brainstorming and concept mapping activities, we will build upon the collective knowledge of the session participants to identify strategies for nurturing and leveraging the creative power of multi-faceted, multi-perspective teams.


Laura Gogia, MD, PhD has extensive experience in connected learning, competency-based education, and digital pedagogical design for higher education and faculty development contexts. She is a design strategist at iDesign where she leads research and development in instructional and operational design. Her previous work includes practicing women's healthcare in rural, underresourced communities. Dr. Gogia earned her doctorate (PhD) in Education Research and Evaluation in 2016 and medical degree (MD) in 2002, both from Virginia Commonwealth University.
At iDesign, Mary Helen Culbertson leads the learner experience design team to provide instructional design support for faculty. She is an experienced instructional designer, classroom educator, and university instructor, with an extensive background in e-learning, online education, educational technology, and learning management systems. Prior to joining iDesign, Mary Helen served as Director of Academic Services at Academic Partnerships where she was responsible for the overall success of the instructional design team and their assigned projects and used her background in instructional design to guide course development. Mary Helen received a Bachelor of Science from the University of the State of New York Regents College, a Masters of Education from Dallas Baptist University, and has completed work towards a Ph.D. in Education with a minor in Instructional Technology.
Victoria Staifer has been with Mayo Clinic for more than 9 years and works in the eLearning Design and Development Center (D2) as a Sr. Instructional Designer. She leads a team that provides design and development services to the five schools within the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Victoria has expertise in online learning and educational technology across multiple learning management systems. Victoria earned a Master’s degree from Central Michigan University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Toledo, where she also served as an Assistant Professor in the Business Technology department before joining Mayo Clinic.

Extended Abstract

In 2016, Mayo Clinic’s eLearning Design and Development Center partnered with digital instructional design firm iDesign to initiate a systems-level shift in how their medical school approaches medical education and faculty development. Mayo Clinic has embraced blended and flipped approaches to learning while also exploring how online learning environments might better support faculty development across its three academic sites in Florida, Minnesota, and Arizona. It contracted with iDesign to provide outside perspective and expertise while also enhancing the school’s capacity for driving systems-level change. The partnership has resulted in flexible teams of higher education professionals who navigate interdisciplinary, cross-functional, cross-contextual, and geographically dispersed working conditions every day. As the relationship matures, we are beginning to identify individual-level practices, team processes, and technologies that best support boundary-spanning and creative collaboration.

The purpose of this interactive session is to explore the conditions that impact collaboration in boundary-spanning partnerships similar to the one forged by Mayo Clinic and iDesign. Additionally, we aim to pool and build upon our collective knowledge about how to best nurture and harness the creative power of boundary-spanning teams. We will invite participants to think through and share their experiences in multiple layers of personal contributions, team-based processes, and educational technologies, and encourage them to focus on “what works” rather than become mired down in barriers or challenges that they might perceive as insurmountable.

By the end of the session, participants should be able to:

  • Identify and discuss different types of boundaries encountered in higher education collaboration, including but not limited to disciplinary, functional, geographic, and contextual/audience-related boundaries.
  • Understand the implications and intersectionalities of these boundaries for creativity, communication, and collaboration in a higher educational context.
  • Analyze boundary-spanning challenges and opportunities through multiple lenses including personal dispositions and skills, processes, and technologies.
  • Begin to create a multifaceted plan for nurturing boundary-crossing collaborative opportunities in their professional contexts.

The session will begin with a brief introduction to the partnership experience between Mayo Clinic and iDesign, with an emphasis on characterizing the types of boundaries this successful partnership has crossed. We will challenge participants to think about what questions and previous experiences they have with boundary-spanning interactive teams through an interactive video experience. Participants will process their thoughts in small groups, writing down their questions, ideas, and experiences on color-coded sticky notes; each color will correspond to “personal contribution," "team process," and "educational technologies" category. Then participants will contribute their sticky notes to a large concept map organized around boundary types. Finally, the whole group will engage in a discussion of the concept map that will emphasize overlaps, intersections, and implications. Participants will draw on their collective knowledge and experience to respond to questions and ideas suggested on individual sticky notes. Although the map is originally organized around different types of boundaries (i.e. interdisciplinary, geographically dispersed, etc.), it is anticipated that it will be reorganized during the large group discussion to reveal commonalities or potential "best practices" in the collaborative process that transcend specific boundary type.