Untethering the Campus Workplace: Ensuring time and place are not barriers to participation

Workshop Session 2

Session Materials

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Brief Abstract

Untethered meetings and workshops ensure time-and-place are not barriers to employees who want to participate. This workshop will provide you with specific strategies for untethering events on your campus to improve productivity and promote a more inclusive workplace.


Dr. Michelle Pacansky-Brock is a noted leader in higher education with expertise in online teaching, course design, and faculty development. Michelle’s work has helped online instructors across the nation and beyond understand how to craft relevant, humanized online learning experiences that support the diverse needs of college students. She is the author of Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies (Routledge), has received national recognition for her excellence in teaching, and has held various leadership roles with the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI). Currently, Michelle is Innovations Lead for Teaching & Learning Innovations at California State University Channel Islands. Learn more about Michelle at brocansky.com and connect with her on Twitter @brocansky.
Jill M. Leafstedt, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of Teaching & Learning Innovation and Senior Academic Technology Officer at CSU Channel Islands. In this role, Jill guides faculty development and academic technology. She is also a Professor of Education and spent 11 years designing curriculum to prepare special education teachers.
Exploring technology as if people matter. Learner, teacher, instigator & lover of life.

Extended Abstract

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:
  1. Identify how time and place function as barriers to participation in the higher education workplace.

  2. Identify potential opportunities and challenges that untethered meetings and workshops may bring to one’s organization.

  3. Consider a model for untethered faculty development in use at CSU Channel Islands.

  4. Design an untethered meeting or workshop.

Inspiring Organizational Change through Untethered Faculty Development

In our mobile digital society where busy adults are pulled in multiple directions it has become more difficult to capture the attention of faculty on university campuses. This often results in low attendance at workshops, meetings and other events, which can be interpreted by faculty development leaders as a sign that faculty aren’t interested in improving how they work and teach.  However, CSU Channel Islands has learned that low attendance may be due to other factors including the assumption that productive sessions must be tied to a physical location.

In an attempt to reduce barriers to entry for faculty development and campus meetings, CSU Channel Islands has put a twist on the traditional workshop model by developing an untethered approach to faculty development and support. Untethered sessions ensure time-and-place are not barriers to employees who want to participate in development opportunities, conversations and planning sessions across campus.

This model reaches faculty in any place and at any time. Our untethered model is spreading across campus, engaging employees in conversations and planning efforts that improve the efficiency of the time spent in synchronous workshops and meetings.

Strategies for Untethering Campus-based Activities

Teaching and Learning Innovations (T&LI) at CSU Channel Islands assures all untethered faculty development opportunities include four elements. These elements assist in removing barriers to participation across meetings, workshops and cohort based programs.

  1. Provide informational materials within the invitation to event. This step assists in two ways. First, participants are informed and have basic knowledge prior to agreeing to attend the event. Secondly, it provides those that cannot attend the workshop or meeting with background information and an avenue to learn more despite not being able to attend.

  2. Offer video conferencing as an option for participating. Many faculty are not on campus full-time and have very busy lives, by opening up options for video conference participation faculty can choose to attend without having to make dramatic changes to their personal schedules.

  3. Assure all materials are available prior to the event electronically. This step assures all participants in-person and remote are able to access the necessary materials in a manner that meets their needs. Remote participants will have access and in-person participants will come prepared. This also saves paper!

  4. Develop a resource site with all materials and a recording of the session. Likely the most important and time consuming step. Developing an online resource site where participants can access information and resources after the event is essential. This provides participants with the ability to go back to the information as needed, it also allows those that did not participate the day of the event to learn. The resource sites expands the reach of every workshop and opportunity.

Toolkit for Untethering

The concepts of untethering may be applied to any meeting, workshop, or ongoing effort with the right toolkit. Below is a list of tools and suggestions for how they can be used to implement untethered experiences across your campus:

  • Zoom

    • Provides option for participants to join remotely without needing an account

    • Screen sharing

    • Built-in recording option

    • Online polling

  • Google Drive

    • Google Docs works great for collaborative agendas

    • Presentation materials can be made and shared in Google Slides and then embedded in a resource site

    • Google Forms are great for registration and collecting feedback

  • Populr and Adobe Spark Page

    • Great tools for quickly making single-page, online resource sites

  • WordPress

    • Perfect for developing multi-page sites and blogs

  • Padlet

The workshop will conclude with the following small group activity.
  • Design Your First Untethered Meeting or Workshop

In groups of 4-5, select a topic for an untethered event the list below.

  1. Faculty Development Workshop

  2. Academic Senate Meeting

  3. Dean’s/Provost’s Council

  4. Department Meeting

  5. Committee Meetings

  • Using tools from the untethered toolkit, develop a strategy for communicating and facilitating your untethered session.

  • As you prepare your plan, identify challenges and successes you anticipate.