Wall of COOL: Engaging Faculty Through Recognition

Concurrent Session 4

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Recognition is a positive force. Cal Poly Pomona's resource was created to celebrate sharing of ideas, techniques, and best practices that support student success.


April has been at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona for the past twenty years. In 1996, she began her career as the University Photographer but transitioned into eLearning in 2000. April now holds the role of Lead, Senior Instructional Designer (ID) for the eLearning team in Academic Affairs. After hours, April is a part-time lecturer for multiple colleges on campus, teaching in all modes of instruction from f2f to online. Subjects have included Desktop Publishing using Adobe InDesign, Foundations of Educational Computer Literacy, and Alternative Learning Environments. When she is not in her role as an ID or lecturer, April continues to explore her passion for photography and has an upcoming show in May at the 2nd Story Gallery in San Dimas. April has two sons and lives in Southern California with her fiancée.
Erick is a Sr. Multimedia Developer for eLearning at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He has developed a myriad of interactive simulations that help faculty to demonstrate concepts that are otherwise difficult to explain to their students through traditional methods. During his time at Cal Poly, Erick has developed interactive multimedia solutions that have proven to increase student's understanding of abstract material and sometimes have even led to improvements in student grades. He is also the developer behind websites like the award winning Wall of COOL, Cal Poly's Multimedia Learning Objects Repository, and other notable websites at Cal Poly Pomona.

Extended Abstract

Cal Poly Pomona (CPP) strives to be innovators in the field of eLearning. The eLearning team has been producing summer institutes for more than 7 years, winning awards in multimedia and video projects, and creating website content that is both resourceful and a positive user experience. Our multimedia learning objects (MLOs) are developed for faculty and are shared resources not only for the CPP community but available to everyone.

In 2009, inspired by a California State University (CSU), Chico website showcasing exemplar learning management courses, the eLearning department at CPP set out to produce their own site to celebrate faculty who had used their services to create stellar online course content.

To build the site the team looked within and channeled the creative expertise of their department to construct the project. The team included a multimedia developer with expertise in web design, photographer, instructional designers, and video producers.

The ADDIE model was applied as the team approached the project from an instructional design perspective. Analyzing the situation the team recognized that the campus was facing challenges with overall morale. The California State University (CSU) was experiencing a budget crisis resulting in furloughs for faculty and staff. Cal Poly Pomona, like many other campuses, was experiencing low morale and frustration during these difficult times making it hard to engage faculty in re-designing their courses into a new mode of instruction.

The team embraced this opportunity and decided to take a negative situation and spin it into a positive story. This was the beginning of a new program to recognize the achievements of Cal Poly Pomona faculty - and was accomplished without costing additional resources outside of the immediate staff time.

Using the website to share ideas and techniques that promote successful learning centeredness, the site showcased best practices by featuring the work of faculty who had already created online or hybrid courses. This resource would not only demonstrate to other faculty the potential of online modes of instruction, but it would also market the services of eLearning.

The website was designed to highlight the course through original photography, quotes, Learning Management System (LMS) course screen shots, and video content integrated with faculty voiceovers. The combined efforts resulted in an interactive website recognizing faculty achievements and Celebrating Outstanding Online Learning (COOL).

To be considered for the Wall of COOL, faculty either attended an eLearning institute emphasizing a comprehensive approach to the integration of instructional technologies into teaching and learning with sound pedagogy or worked with the eLearning team, utilizing resources such as instructional design services or multimedia development.

In 2013 the Wall of COOL website was revamped to support mobile devices. The previous site was originally developed before the boom on mobile devices and was not mobile-device friendly. The team felt that updating the design that would meet mobile needs would best serve the university community.

At this time the process of faculty course selection and the criteria for inclusion on the Wall of COOL, was also re-evaluated. It was decided that a self-nomination opportunity for all faculty on the campus would more widely open up the ability to participate. Faculty are now asked to describe how their course is an excellent learning experience that utilizes technology effectively, in big ways or small ways, to support and enhance their students? learning. They are also asked to include data or feedback that they may have regarding student learning outcomes.

On this new Wall of COOL, not only is there recognition for excellent hybrid and online learning experiences, but also face-to-face courses that are enhanced by effectively infusing technologies that support learning are also eligible. The new site includes a disclaimer that COOL used to stand for Celebrating Outstanding Online Learning, but we now want to recognize learning experiences of all types while keeping our cool name!

In looking to the future, the eLearning team will continue to follow the ADDIE model, evaluating and modifying as needed to provide the campus with a resource that continues to recognize the stellar examples and best practices of the Cal Poly Pomona faculty.

What the team finds most rewarding is that they began this project to celebrate faculty when there was no other financial means in the forms of workshop stipends or grants to celebrate faculty success. Seven years later they are on the second version of the Wall of COOL website, it continues to be a yearly celebration, they have more than 30 faculty on the Wall, and faculty want to be on the Wall - evident in the number of submissions each year. It has been well received University wide and is acknowledged by the University President as they recognize Wall of COOL recipients at a yearly function, known as PolyTeach.

At Cal Poly Pomona, the eLearning team feels strongly about their work with faculty and the creativity within the team is what makes Wall of COOL such a successful project. It is team driven - everyone in eLearning participates on this project from the website design, photography, interviews, working with the LMS courses, content gathering, to coordinating all of the pieces. It is a project to look forward to every year because the end product is going to be creative, but most of all it is going to celebrate the faculty for the work that they are doing to support student success.

This presentation will investigate the:

* talent leveraging from within - a team approach to creating a homegrown resource for faculty

* design and development of Wall of COOL websites (v1 & v2)

* criteria for faculty course selection

* ongoing evaluation of effectiveness

* support to maintain the integrity of the site

* current advances in technology

While the furlough became a memory, the eLearning team created something positive out of a negative situation that continues to grow and flourish. The project known as Wall of COOL for which there is no prize or stipend - is all about recognition, and that is the reward.