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!


Pronouns: she, her, hers Twitter: @MaddieShellgren As the Director of Online Engagement, Madeline (Maddie) Shellgren serves as the lead innovator, designer, and project manager of the OLC's portfolio of online engagement opportunities. Known for her love of storytelling, play, and all things gameful, Maddie thrives on facilitating and designing meaningful ways for people to connect, learn, and grow together. Within the OLC, she has served on steering and operations committees for several of the organization’s conferences (including as Technology Test Kitchen and Innovation Studio lead, as well as Engagement Co-Chair) and has had the distinct honor of being the mastermind behind the OLC Escape Rooms. She looks forward to continuing supporting OLC community building efforts, is committed to sustainable, equitable, and anti-oppressive ecologies within education, and is genuinely excited to leverage her interdisciplinary scholarly and professional backgrounds as she helps lead the OLC towards truly innovative and transformative models for what’s possible for online and digital engagement. Maddie joins the OLC from Michigan State University (MSU), where she has served as the lead on numerous student success initiatives related to instructional design and technology, accessibility, and equity and inclusion. Over the past eleven years, Maddie has dedicated her professional life to teaching and learning related initiatives and has strategically sought out opportunities that give her a multi-dimensional perspective on teaching and learning, including working as a Standardized Patient training medical students, serving as Program Director for Teaching Assistant development, taking lead on a number of cross-institutional educator onboarding and professional development projects, and teaching across online and face-to-face contexts. She most recently worked as an Assistant Rowing Coach for the MSU Varsity Women’s Rowing Program. There she was given the opportunity to help redesign a community from the bottom up, story the team's new journey together in fun and multimodal ways, lead in the co-construction of community expectations and norms, help ensure alignment across a variety of stakeholders and initiatives, and develop and operationalize strategic structures for long-term sustainability (such as entirely new social media, marketing, communications, and content management strategies). She had the privilege of seeing the impact of her human-centered and equity-oriented approach each and every day as the team reimagined what it meant to be a Spartan on the MSU Rowing Team. With her move to the OLC, she will continue on as a volunteer coach, still supporting these efforts and the team, and is excited to get back on the water.
I am a Learning Experience Designer at Michigan State University’s Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology where my personal passions for adult learning and community-based knowing intersect with institutional educator development. 2020 was a big year as I brought two babies, my son Henry, and my final dissertation into the world! I earned my doctorate in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education, and continue to seek out ways to enact positive cultural shifts that center adults as learners and organizations as spaces for ongoing growth and development. I'm a lifelong Michigander and love outdoor activities (even/especially in winter). In a pre/post covid world, you'd find me traveling, embroidering, and carrying a camer!
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.