Sneak in the Veggies: Deceptively Delicious Innovations in Faculty Development

Concurrent Session 6

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Just as smart parents hide spinach in brownies, or cauliflower in mashed potatoes, faculty can be encouraged to "eat their broccoli" and innovate their teaching.

Additional Authors

Sarah Bleakney PhD is an Instructional Designer for the Teaching & Learning Center at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business. She provides instructional design support to graduate and undergraduate faculty for online and blended courses. Her current research focuses on supporting active and engaged learning in blended and online learning environments.

Extended Abstract

Instructional designers in the Warrington Teaching and Learning Center follow the philosophy that innovation does not require a mass overhaul or hours of mandated curriculum to prepare for teaching online; rather, simple strategies integrated throughout the design process can, over time, help "bake in" bite-sized enhancements to the teaching and learning experience. Course development offers an opportunity to add in elements that are innovative via such methods as video production, technology integration, and assessment strategies. These strategies may seem to offer only incremental improvement in teaching and may not be perceived as traditional approaches to faculty development and training, but can lead to major innovations in teaching and learning. Our philosophy aligns with a recent article in "The Chronicle of Higher Education" ( that highlights how college centers for teaching are part of an innovation infrastructure. While the results of this approach lead to significantly improved courses, the larger gain is a "healthier lifestyle" for teaching and faculty who ultimately come to crave the veggies.

While most instructors are comfortable in front of the classroom, few seem to relish being on camera. Additionally, faculty may not have the time or resources to consider video production options. Despite the nerves, resources, coordination, planning, and logistics involved in creating engaging video content for teaching, the end results are well worth the development effort. Instructional designers can collaborate with faculty to design videos that can introduce students to a course's instructor, highlight the content and purpose of a particular course, overview or provide focus for a particular learning module, provide fresh and timely updates to a course, and demonstrate how to navigate a course site or how to complete a course-related activity. As faculty explore these options for video production, they learn not just how to create and use video, but they also learn more about the pedagogy of using video for teaching. This session will provide guidance for and examples of videos for teaching, and share faculty experiences of creating videos to enhance learning activities.

Faculty can become overwhelmed with the plethora of tools and technologies available for teaching and learning. Additionally, they rarely have the time or knowledge needed to adequately investigate and then implement these tools. Instructional designers can help faculty with evaluating technology needs, selecting from the myriad of technology choices that best fit the needs, and then implementing the technologies. These technologies can increase innovation in courses through methods such as audio feedback for personalized scoring feedback on student assignments, simulations for experiential team-based learning opportunities, and video and rubrics for self, peer, and instructor timecoded review and feedback. Through this process of evaluating and selecting technologies, faculty are indeed learning the nuts and bolts of how to use a specific technology. More importantly, they are learning to make bigger decisions about the value of technology for enhancing teaching. This session will provide criteria for and faculty lessons learned from implementing technologies for enhancing teaching and learning.

Assessment can often be the last consideration for faculty when planning a course. Instructional designers can encourage the use of backward design principles to make decisions about assessment. Assessment strategies can include simulations, video review and feedback, dynamic generation of quiz and exam questions, use of embedded files within proctored exams and case analyses, rubrics and learning outcomes, and methods for holding students accountable for coming to class prepared to learn. Through this process of developing appropriate assessment practices, faculty are improving their courses and better assessing student learning. They are also learning that integrating assessment into the entire cycle of course preparation, course delivery, and student activities, enhances the teaching and learning experience. This session will illustrate how backward design principles can drive the course design and review process to provide enhanced assessment.

Faculty improvement is the ultimate goal of any faculty development initiative or effort, but it can be akin to making a four year old think Brussels sprouts are appetizing. This can be especially true when the college does not have a requirement for faculty participation. As a part of an infrastructure focused on innovation, teaching centers can leverage a variety of opportunities with faculty to encourage the use of good practices in teaching, and instructional designers can utilize simple but innovative strategies to "bake in" bite-sized enhancements to the teaching and learning experience.

Participants will leave this session aware of:
ï opportunities and strategies to integrate faculty development
ï a broad range of types of and uses for instructional video
ï a variety of technologies for teaching and learning
ï the importance of connecting assessment to course development process
More importantly, participants will leave the session inspired by specific examples of:
ï faculty development within the course development and support process
ï video integrated into online and blended teaching
ï strategies for evaluating, selecting, and implementing technologies for teaching
ï robust and engaging assessment strategies