The Faculty Commons: Faculty Development, Academic Technology, and Online Education, Collaborate & Coordinate as a Team

Concurrent Session 8

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Three departments across two divisions come together to transform teaching and learning at California State University, Fullerton. This innovative, collaborative structure seems to have potential

Extended Abstract

It began Fall 2015, announced in President Garcia's Convocation, the Faculty Commons. The Commons consists of three distinct departments each responsible for its unique contribution to the University's mission and strategic plan. The Faculty Development Center (FD C) promotes career-long faculty development in teaching and learning, scholarly and creative activities, and the use of technology. The Academic Technology Center (ATC) focuses on the development and provision of technology to the faculty and the department of Online Education and Training (OET) creates, encourages and supports online education at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). The FDC was established by the Faculty Senate in 1998, is governed by a standing committee and reports into Academic Affairs. In 2011, the Division of Information Technology established the ATC to support faculty's use of technology. OET is a new department assembled by Academic Affairs in Fall 2015 with staff from the FDC, ATC, and the University's Extended Education. The reporting structures for all three departments connect at the President.

There is intentional overlap in the responsibilities of these departments. Since online education is technology-mediated instruction that uses the Internet and most instructional technology directly or indirectly uses the Internet the distinction between online learning, elearning, web based learning, computer based learning and distance learning has become obscured. Online education at CSUF is an umbrella term for technology mediated instruction and includes instructional technology used in face-to-face courses, blended/hybrid courses, or 100% online courses. OET is responsible for providing direction, guidance, support and training for instructional technology and its use in courses and programs. OET fulfills this responsibility through collaboration and coordination with the FDC and ATC operating as the Faculty Commons.

About two thirds of the way into their first semester as a team, the departments of the Faculty Commons working together have:
ï Created a physical space for faculty collaboration on the second floor of the library
ï Launched a model active learning classroom
ï Hosted professional development opportunities for over 1,000 attendees.
ï Provided in person hardware and software technical assistance for over 1,860 walk-in visits
ï Established a LMS email support capability answering over 600 emails.
ï Consulted on the phone, in person, or through email with faculty on over 400 different courses.
ï Designed and implemented an instructional technology faculty self-help knowledge base
ï Supported multiple Campus wide initiatives
These efforts were accomplished with efficient and effective use of existing resources.

We present our strategies, processes and procedures in a reflective look at what is working, what shows promise, and opportunities for improvement. In this 10-minute multimedia presentation, we candidly discuss mistakes we have made, what we have learned, and the structural barriers that have been exposed. This presentation makes visible the challenges of transformational change.

How do information technology, academic affairs, and extended education faculty and staff come together to support the teaching and learning paradigm shift in higher education? How do you keep student outcomes not technology driving course or program design and delivery? How do you break down traditional silos of control and harness multiple perspectives to engage faculty? How do you ensure efficient and effective uses of limited resources? The Faculty Commons at California State University, Fullerton is attempting to answer these questions. Our goal for this session is to share our emerging model, successes we have had, obstacles we have encountered, and issues we are still wrestling with. We hope that administrators, faculty, training and instructional support staff will find aspects of our approach useful has they pursue innovation on their campuses and that our work will be informed by the insights of others.