Staying on top of new trends and best practices can be a daunting task on top of keeping content current and relevant to students. This need led Digital Learning to develop a new experience that combines instructional design and professional learning in an asynchronous, collaborative environment. In the Redesign Cohort, Digital Learning facilitators guide instructors through an eight-week cohort experience that provides opportunities to review and enhance their courses while engaging with colleagues teaching in the online modality.
This new model allows facilitators to curate and share resources and new technologies with instructors and guide them in the best practices for integrating them into their courses. The cohort also allows instructors to reflect on the development of their course and build on the foundation of their initial course build. It’s asynchronous modality gives flexibility to the instructor to fit the experience into their own schedule. Additionally, the nature of the cohort allows the work to be done and completed in real time, unlike a workshop that might present information to be applied later. In short, when you’re done, the work’s done.
It takes a village
Building community is key underpinning of the Redesign Cohort process. Offering a collaborative space for online instructors to connect allows for critical discussions to emerge. Beyond the sharing of information and experiences, instructors are able to interact and engage with each other in a setting that models best practices for engaging students and building community in their own courses. Digital Learning facilitators help to drive these discussions and offer strategies and tools for building the vision instructors have for their courses. Course development can be overwhelming, but with DL facilitators providing instructional design guidance, the waters are easier to navigate.
Participants in the cohort can expect to be guided through the following path. The first four-weeks focuses on the instructor working on the foundation of their course. During this time, instructors can work on strengthening the course learning outcomes, ensuring they are measurable and fully aligned with their module learning outcomes, instructional activities and assessments. For the second half of the cohort, each faculty member is provided resources to focus on their redesign. Now that each course has a solid foundation of measurable outcomes with assessments that are linked to those outcomes, resources are provided to show technologies that can be explored to see if they are a good fit for your content. You also get to go through a peer review process and get to explore another course while also receiving feedback on your own course. The final week is a week to work on your finishing touches for your redesign. These could be things that you want to change from the feedback given by your peer or things that you would like to work on while you have access to an Instructional Designer.
Is it effective?
A study conducted in the Summer and Fall of 2020 found that participants saw increases in instructor presence and student engagement with content, instructors, and peers (Romanoski 2020). Instructors provided positive feedback on a number of elements of the cohort. They enjoyed the flexibility of the asynchronous online modality, which provides the added benefit of participating in online learning from the student perspective. Participants enjoyed being able to collaborate with colleagues and learning about the latest trends in educational technology from the facilitators. Finally, participants were excited to have dedicated time to make improvements to their courses.
Come join us!
Cohorts run at least once a semester. If you are interested in participating, please go to the Events page to access the interest form or contact Cathy Russell at email@example.com for more information.