The Journey Towards Culture Shift Through an Educator Learning Community (ELC): The #iteachmsu Commons

Concurrent Session 6

Brief Abstract

It can be difficult to fully recognize and leverage educator learning communities on large campuses. The #iteachmsu Commons provides an educator-driven space for sharing teaching resources, connecting across educator networks, and growing teaching practice. Join us to preview our new commons website and share feedback about your first impressions!


Madeline (Maddie) Shellgren is the one with the batman and dinosaur tattoos. This year marking her second as a PhD student in Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, Maddie spent six years prior at Michigan State as a PhD student in Linguistics. She devotes a lot of time to thinking about educator support, community building, institutional and organizational change, program development, critical pedagogies, graduate student (and early-career professionals) socialization, identity and embodiment within higher education (i.e. 'the higher ed experience'), educator and professional development, cultures of change within institutional contexts, and ways to move towards sustainable, equitable, and anti-oppressive ecologies within higher education. That said, Maddie also spends a lot of time trying to figure out which local stores sell the best donuts (extensive research and data collection still underway) and which parks provide the best dog-walking experiences. When not teaching, being a grad student, or working for either Michigan State University's College of Arts and Letters, the Graduate School, or the Writing Center, you can find her working as a Standardized Patient for the College of Human Medicine or eating cannolis at Roma Bakery.
Dave Goodrich (@rangerdavie) likes to learn, design, and reflect.
Rashad Muhammad has over 17 years of developing and delivering high quality learning and technical solutions. He received his Bachelors in Telecommunication and Masters in Educational Technology from Michigan State University. He has been involved in several large implementation projects, facilitated workshops with community organizations, academic institutions, and was responsible for software training coordination on Michigan State University’s largest training implementation to date. As Instructional Designer with MSU’s Academic Technologies department, he spends his time researching, developing and delivering innovative technical solutions to enhance faculty courses and research projects.

Extended Abstract

We believe that a wide educator (Faculty, Graduate TAs, Learning Designers, Advisors, et al.) community helps learning happen across our campus at Michigan State University. But, on such a large campus, it can be difficult to fully recognize and leverage this community’s teaching and learning innovations. To address this challenge, the #iteachmsu Commons provides an educator-driven space for sharing teaching resources, connecting across educator networks, and growing teaching practice.

#iteachmsu Commons content may be discipline-specific or transdisciplinary, but will always be anchored in five core teaching competency areas. At, you will find individual posts and articles, curated playlists, educator learning module pathways, and a campus-wide teaching and learning events calendar. We cultivate this commons across spaces. And through campus educator engagement, we will continue to nurture a culture of teaching and learning across MSU and beyond.

This Emerging Ideas Session will showcase the #iteachmsu Commons website, a concept partly conceived at a previous OLC Innovate Conference, in its current beta form. OLC Innovate attendees will have the opportunity to interact with the site and share initial thoughts. We’ll also have large posters of site screens, and will ask attendees to respond to a short series of prompts based on the core functions of the site (e.g. sharing teaching resources, connecting across educator networks, and growing teaching practice).

We also recognize that we’re not the first people to re-center teaching on a college campus without a teaching and learning center. We’re interested in collecting resources and ideas from our OLC colleagues regarding what educator development efforts exist in their communities. It’s important to understand existing initiatives in other spaces, and we’re excited to learn with and from others at OLC Innovate.

Our emerging ideas session will consist of small, and varied engagement activities to accommodate various learning/engagement styles while soliciting diverse feedback from our peers, including:

  • Opportunities to interact with our web space live

  • Mini-dialogues with #iteachmsu commons team members

  • Sticky wall feedback of first impressions on design

Participants will leave with a great overview of the ways in which we approach gathering community feedback, plan for and implement prototype testing moments, and incorporate user experience data into our website (re)design. They will also move towards a good understanding of the potential impacts large, decentered campuses like Michigan State University have on the maintenance, development, and growth of educator learning communities. It is our hope, by sharing about the #iteachmsu Commons and through learning from others in the OLC Community, to further work towards a future where educators across the board (not just those that “teach”) not only value sharing, connecting, and growing, but where they also feel valued in doing that type of work.