I did post an introduction earlier today (at least I thought I had), but I see it's not popped up yet.
I'm a Curriculum Co-ordinator in a large service department in a 2-year technical colleage (SAIT Polytechnic) in Calgary (Alberta, Canada). My work involves a lot of project management and a lot of coaching around curriculum "stuff." In terms of making curriculum projects manageable for new SMEs, I'm always looking for resources--including job aids and quick learning pieces. Our SMEs tend to be folks who are carrying a fairly full teaching load in addition to taking on curriculum projects. There's some curriculum-specific PD available--not much yet, and much of it new for the first time this year....but not everyone has the time to attend F2F training and so I'm always on the look-out for on-line training that'll help SMEs rethink curriculum development (from F2F classroom delivery to online delivery/development).
Nancy, your opening remarks included a number of questions--which I answer briefly in this response.
But.....what I really would like to know is a lot more about the vision your institution has for a PD collaboratory. I assume we're talking more than the posting of print articles....and so I wondered how the collaboratory/respository would be organized, what sort of content you expect to host, how you are planning to market this resource internally, and how you are going to address the "WIIFM" (what's in it for me?) issue.
How do you find out about PD opportunities? SAIT has excellent in-house PD. I take as much as I can. It's advertized on our online Public Notices board.I also receive information from organizations such as the Hewlett Foundation and EduCause and the Conference Board of Canada. If I identify a gap in my learning, I often go looking for courses to fill it...and that sometimes means taking courses at a competitor's instititon...which offers a great opportunity to see how others organize courses.
What encourages you to visit online PD websites? Mostly, I'm interested in seeing what others are doing. I have two guiding principles: work smarter not harder (borrowed, but I don't recall the source) and Don't reinvent the wheel, just paint it another colour. With those to guiding principles in mind, what encourages me to look at websites is that I can get ideas from others and reflect on them later. Also, chatting to colleagues in other institutions helps me benchmark where my department is in terms of curriculum design and development.
What are the components of exemplary online professional development sites? Quick information that is easily accessible. There are so many demands on my day (like everyone else, of course), and so I don't want to be wandering around busy websites on the off chance I'll find something useful. I want the information to be obvious, and I want it to be a quick read. I'm now at the point where, rather than reading online, I'd like to see video. If something interests me, I'll go back and do the reading later. In many ways, I'd like to see on-line PD material follow a similar model to credit courses.I find that most websites (home pages) are way too busy, and I find that I am now backing out of them becasue I don't have the patience to try to find what I want.
What is missing and needed? I'm not sure that there is anything missing. I've only recently started supporting my own PD needs through online resources. it's a new venture for me. My learning style supports F2F learning (and so conferences and in-class courses work really well for me) and reading (but I'm of the generation that prefers a book and a highlighter pen when I read).
What aspects of online PD websites encourage you to return to the PD website and share your contributions? For me, at present, the encouragement is the commitment I've made to myself to participate in online PD. I can't recommend online PD to my collegues if I haven't tried it myself.
I look forward to an interesting discussion. Cheers, Chris