Using the TPACK Framework to Grow a Center for Teaching and Online Learning

Concurrent Session 2

Brief Abstract

A collaboration between academic and IT divisions, led to a cohort-based pilot, founded in the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework.


Jennifer first started out in education as middle-school English teacher, where she first experimented with technology as an instructional tool to engage students of all levels. Fifteen years later, she still continues to explore the innovative behavior of those who teach and learn with technology. She is currently working on her EdD in Educational Leadership at Drexel University, with an emphasis in Educational Technology. Her research interests include change management and facilitating innovative practice in P-20 education.

Extended Abstract

Over the last 4 years, California State University Sacramento has been home to a series of grassroots efforts to grow high-quality online courses for students. One institutional effort, the eAcademy, was an incentive program that took place in the spring, sponsored by Academic Affairs, reaching 15-25 faculty each term. While the program supported best practices in online course development, the program was a single-shot effort each academic year.
Recently, Sacramento State's new president called for the formation of a Center for Online Teaching and Learning in support of improving time to graduation rates.
Two different divisions, Academic Technology & Creative Services (ATCS) and Information Resources Technology (IRT) answered the call with a collaborative recommendation for a pilot of a cohort-based model that would seed this new center.
Based in Koehler and Mishra's (2005) Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework, the core tenants of the proposed center are founded on the need to develop faculty knowledge of the complex interplay between technology, pedagogy, and content. Therefore, both short and long-term goals for the center include an ongoing professional development model, where cohorts of faculty would work on courses, with the pedagogical and technological support of ATCS and IRT divisions. These cohorts could be homogenous or interdisciplinary; the emphasis would be on cultivating collaborative relationships that facilitate change and innovation in instructional practice (Lueddeke, 1999).
In this model, small networks of learners could eventually lead to the development of more high quality online and hybrid courses but also facilitate transformation of teaching practice. This strategy for growing a Center for Online Teaching and Learning is based in Rogers' (2001) Diffusion of Innovations theory. By adopting a cohort model as the foundation for the center, there is potential for these innovative practices and breadth of knowledge to spread to other members of the academy. Peers who innovate can become the diffusion agents to the rest of the network. The long-term goal would be to eventually take a robust cohort to the level of supporting the development of fully online programs.
The authors, each representing their respective divisions, made this recommendation for forming the center in December 2015. Understanding there are organizational challenges to this proposal and the inherent institutional culture, the authors chose the approach to address some of the barriers to innovative practice. By taking more of a constructivist approach to organizational change, and development of the center, the authors place the academy at the center of the process of change. With support mechanisms in place, the cohorts can define challenges as they arise and then work together to form the knowledge to address them (Lueddeke, 1999).
The constraints of the institutional context for this pilot will be discussed as well as the viability of such a model. In order to successfully build the new center on the proposed model, the authors addressed multiple organizational lenses for framing the pilot to stakeholders (Bolman & Deal, 2013). The authors will describe the structural, human resources, political, and symbolic frames they used during the planning process to address organizational barriers to forwarding the center's progress.


Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2013). Reframing organizations : Artistry, choice, and leadership (5th ed.). Somerset, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.
Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2005). What happens when teachers design educational technology? The development of technological pedagogical content knowledge. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 32(2), 131-152.
Lueddeke, G. R. (1999). Toward a constructivist framework for guiding innovation in higher education. Journal of Higher Education, 70(3), 235-260.
Rogers, E. M. (2001). Evolution: Diffusion of innovations. In N. J. Baltes & P. B. Smelser (Eds.), International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences (pp. 4982-4986). Oxford: Pergamon.