Seeding Pedagogical Innovation on a Large Scale by Delivering a Summer Institute as a Core Faculty Development Component for Course Redesign with Technology
Concurrent Session 4
This presentation will describe the experiences, impact on, and feedback from nearly 200 faculty who participated in the week-long summer institute as part of the Course Redesign with Technology program.
Rebounding from a 5-year deep economic recession, the 2013-2014 state budget for California included $10 million for the California State University (CSU) to reduce enrollment bottlenecks that limit student progress to timely graduation at our 23 campuses. A “bottleneck” is defined as anything that prevents students from making timely progress to graduation. Bottlenecks in the CSU tend to be based on course availability, student readiness, and limited facilities, particularly in the STEM disciplines. The CSU implemented a Course Redesign with Technology (CRT) initiative, supporting faculty in effectively using technology to improve learning, with the goal of reducing non-passing grades while maintaining course rigor and integrity. The initiative has grown to include several programs, all designed to improve student success across the CSU by using a comprehensive approach that leverages educational technology and established pedagogical practices. These programs include:
Proven Course Redesign, designed to support faculty across multiple campuses who are interested in adopting and adapting elements of an established practice from a lead faculty member who has demonstrated evidence of success;
Promising Practices for Course Redesign, directed to faculty who are testing and developing an emerging practice that uses technology to improve learning, in order to establish its viability;
Virtual Labs, a STEM focused program intended to alleviate the enrollment bottlenecks caused by limited facilities and the high cost of traditional laboratories and to foster student scientific exploration, engagement and project-based learning through the use of virtual labs; and
Sustaining Success designed to provide previously funded faculty members with support for taking their projects to another level, including scaling the project to more students, more extensive assessment using data analytics, and dissemination of the results to an external audience.
These course redesign programs with technology all provide CSU faculty a sustained community of practice, faculty development, assessment, and dissemination opportunities via electronic portfolios.
In June of 2016, nearly 200 funded faculty from the twenty three campuses of the California State University system spent a week in San Diego, sharing effective practices, discussing new pedagogical concepts and challenges inspired by dynamic speakers, and learning about academic technologies that might help stimulate student success in their courses. The week-long summer institute offered participants a blend of professional development activities that targeted collaboration through structured cohort time, development of course outcomes through ePortfolios, student access via affordable and accessible learning solutions, and activities that promoted accountability.
This presentation will describe the main elements of the CRT programs, but special focus will be given to the Summer Institute for Course Redesign and how the institute promotes innovative pedagogical approaches because of its scale, as well as its activities carefully chosen to mix faculty development, structured and focused discussions, and learning technologies. Participants will gain familiarity with a large-scale faculty development initiative that focuses on improving student success through course redesign with technology. Participants will also gain insights on how to plan and deliver a successful in-person institute with faculty organized in cohorts (based on discipline or pedagogy or both) and how to sustain faculty learning communities in ways that are both supportive and accountable. Finally, given that this initiative is in its fourth year, there are a number of lessons learned that will be shared with the audience, and these might be useful, should a similar initiative be contemplated at other institutions. Data and analysis from an intrusive session-by-session evaluation by the summer institute participants will be presented, with insights on what works and what does not. Examples of portfolios will be shown and a discussion will take place about various strategic topics, such as outreach to faculty, campus coordination and departmental leadership, all of which underpin the success and sustainability of these programs.
This conference is an ideal setting for engaging higher education professionals with the initiative and its future. The initiative is in its fourth year, and the academic technology services team who manages the program at the CSU Chancellor’s Office is constantly looking for ways to innovate, make changes, and anticipate issues in order to better serve students and faculty and meet the legislative expectations in California. Indeed, this initiative is a critical component in redesigning curriculum to meet the needs of the CSU’s very diverse student body, as we undertake ambitious new goals to improve graduation rates across the system (Graduation 2025).
Using Google docs and a WIFI connection, a series of electronic prompts will be developed to engage the audience on the structure and objectives of the initiative. As an example, one such prompt will ask how a program encourages the reduction of the number of DWFs (non-passing grades), yet maintains high integrity in a redesigned course. Included in this discussion will be strategic topics, such as how to get department chairs and deans more vested and prepared to engage their own faculty in on-going course redesign, how to build inclusivity into course redesign, and how to design and operate a week-long institute that sustains strong faculty engagement. The result of these interactive topical discussions will inform our planning for the future, under the ambitious Graduation 2025 goals.
Finally, this presentation is intended for faculty developers, as well as faculty and administrators looking to engage in curriculum change, with technology as a lever, in order to stimulate student success. Department chairs, deans, and faculty development officers are finding these programs of particular interest, as they provide programs, departments, and colleges with opportunities to reconsider their curriculum in the context of faculty development and with the support of system-wide professional learning communities. At the end of a yearlong program, which begins with the Summer Institute for Course Redesign, faculty electronic portfolios are published to disseminate initial practices, the process of redesign, and its outcomes, creating tools for future use in adapting and adopting curricular practices to improve students learning and timely progress to earning a degree in the California State University.