Scaling Effective Digital Teaching and Learning Practices in Higher Education

Concurrent Session 1
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

Higher education institutions conduct pilot after pilot centered on digital teaching and learning initiatives, but the lessons learned from these projects are often lost. What if there was a way to better share results with similar colleges and universities in order to improve scalability and impact?


Justin T. Dellinger is Learning Analytics Program Coordinator at the University of Texas at Arlington. He is also the project lead for the Digital Learning Research Network (dLRN) and member of Every Learner Everywhere. His primary research investigates the complexities of learning analytics adoption. He currently leads the development of the Learning Analytics MOOC Series in edX and serves as a course instructor in the program. In addition, he has facilitated the Professional Learning Community program at his university with the aim of building community to support the innovation of teaching practice through the use of digital technology, such as implementing open educational resources, using online course tools, and improving course outcomes through the use of learning analytics.
Dr. Karen Vignare is a strategic innovator who has been leveraging emerging technologies to improve access, success and flexibility within higher education for over 20 years. Dr. Karen Vignare currently serves as the Executive Director of the Personalized Learning Consortium at the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. The PLC’s mission is to support public universities as they rapidly infuse technology that supports improved student learning, retention and graduation. She has a Ph.D. from Nova Southeastern University in Computer Technology and Education and a M.B.A from the William Simon Business School at University of Rochester.

Extended Abstract

Time and again, institutions of higher education undertake initiatives around digital teaching and learning practices. These institutions often develop pilots in order to determine what works well, what does not, how they can make improvements, or if they need to abandon them and try something else. Often times, top-down efforts are siloed and do not include a diverse set of stakeholders in the decision-making process, reducing buy-in and leaving out key nodes during implementation. Bottom-up pilots frequently do not have institutional support and tend to be isolated to small groups of instructors or researchers. When pilots are abandoned or scaled, many of the lessons learned from the process are lost along the way.

However, is there a way that we can better leverage these pilots and the data that they generate in order to help improve the scalability of effective digital teaching and learning practices more broadly? Is it possible to help cluster institutions around contexts, needs, and capacities so that they can learn from what others have done, thereby potentially decreasing costs, accelerating timelines, and increasing data-driven decision-making? This session will center around a conversation pertaining to these questions and how we can collectively work to minimize pain points, improve communication, and create a resource that holds the potential to improve student outcomes.

We will facilitate a discussion around these questions, having attendees work in small groups of different backgrounds. The session will make use of sticky flip charts and markers in order to visually share ideas with others. Participants will engage with us and each other to develop a key set of takeaways that will be shared with them following the event and that they will be able to use at their own institutions. Given that these complex questions cannot be fully answered in a 45-minute session, attendees will also be invited to continue the conversation after the event.