Here is an example of an open invitations found on a personal blog:
I found out about it because I subscribe to Jen's blog. (Jeffrey, I cant' remember...are you and Jen at the same college in Bellingham?)
Here is an example of open invitations posted on a university website. This is University of Manitoba Learning Technologies Centre main page where you'll often find public event listings. http://www.umanitoba.ca/academic_support/ltc/index.php
I check out this page now and again, but usually I find out about these events through twitter.
As we learned in the Viral Professional Development seminar, this type of activity is becoming more common.
Last year I attended a meeting of British Columbia's University College & Institute Professional Developers -- folks who work in teaching and learning centres in post secondary institutions around BC. During our round table institutional updates session I was really taken aback by the number of fantastic pro-d opportunities around the province that had OPEN invitations (not just for their own faculty and staff). The challenge of course is finding out about them. The open invitation part isn't always published on institutional websites, and if it is then it's takes some wandering to find out about them. Or often the idea of inviting outsiders to an in-house event doesn't occur to the organizer. I think back on all the lab workshops I attended or facilitated with empty seats. What missed opportunities!
It seems that this Pro-D Collaboratory project is much more than the design of a website to support our needs. In many ways we are transforming how we go about our practice as professional developers. We need to:
1) Promote the idea of open pro-d at institutions
2) Encourage publication and distribution of information on institutional websites so that is more accessible
3) ... what else?
You have suggested some great ideas. My feeling is that unless people get behind creating open educational resources for PD on an open platform and in collaboration, a true sharing of opportunities will not happen.
There are some great beginnings on Wikieducator.org and a wonderful PD opportunity exists in learning how to create content on the wiki platform. There are monthly online tutorials - Learning4Content - and people can be supported to run workshops in their own locations as well.
One opportunity for self-paced and interactive courses is the Facilitating Online Communities course - which i believe you may already know about. Others which are not running agin until next year are:
Designing for Flexible learning practice
Evaluation of elearning for Best practice
Also check out the list of projects - being involved in something like these projects is a wonderful opportunity for PD as well. And anyone can get involved.
Bronwyn's post made me realize that we haven't really mentioned the sharing of PD workshop materials -- nice packages that can be used for facilitating online or f2f workshops. That would be a valuable component of the PD Collaboratory.
Also, promoting the use of WikiEducator for publishing workshop materials would be good!
Looking not too far afield for evidence to that effect, I discovered another SCoPE forum I hadn't attended during a retreat from SCoPE last year. A first glance indicates that something under half of the principle participants hailed from British Columbia. I wonder whether any of them are tuned in to this forum, and would be willing to share reflections regarding which among their compliments of services might better be served at a provincial level than at an institutional level (Teaching and Learning Centres: June 25-July 6, 2007).
It is hard to imagine Sylvia and others not being there, too, as well as at the round-table that she mentions in the initial post on this thread (Cross-institutional pro-d activities, 2008.08.23, ¶5). I wonder whether she or other participants might characterize either of those gatherings as formal, or might view their purposes as achievable by mechanisms?
Anyway, Terrie was describing the sessions she organizes with faculty in Applied Business Technology (ABT), a program offered at many colleges around the province. They use Adobe Connect to hold regular topic-based sessions to learn new tools, explore new strategies, etc. So this is an example of instructors already working across institutions, but still within their own [ABT] discipline.
It started with Terrie doing the sessions and now other instructors have stepped forward to take the lead. While some of the topics are focused on the Desire2Learn platform they're using, and perhaps sometimes on the curriculum itself, there are many that would be of interest to people outside of the program. So in the spirit of a PD Collaboratory, Terrie is now inspired to open up the invitation to include people outside the ABT program. This will serve as a good example for others to follow! We will all benefit from more PD openness.
I haven't introduced myself by I work at Yukon College in Whitehorse and we're struggling to help all our instructors gain access to appropriate professional development opportunities too!
If there's any way that Terrie can open up some of the learning opportunities she provided, it would be great. But I'm also aware that it is a lot of work getting everyone "one the same page" for online learning.
I noticed that people have recommended the Wikieducator platform. I started an open learning course with Wikiversity (http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Composing_free_and_open_online_educational_resources ) last year and found that the content of the platform is sporadic...some very valuable learning groups to join contrasted with some fairly "thin" learning materials to review. Having said that, I think it's a great place to revisit and we should all get more comfortable working within the "open" media model.
Has anyone tried the learning environment at the Open University of Britain's OpenLearn space? http://labspace.open.ac.uk/ I'm going to try and develop a workshop for my college instructors this year on how to use the resources within this onlinelearnign environment. It's part of the OER (open educational resources) learning movement and, at this point, seems to me to provide the most sophisticated tools for collaborative course content design, development and delivery. Does that fit within your theme?
I also wanted to suggest that people try Edtechtalks...I've found them very interesting and informative (a little long-winded at times).Welcome to Ed Tech Talks, a series of podcasts on current issues in educational technology.http://edtechtalks.wordpress.com/
And I love TED talks which are not focused on education but they're beautifully done and inspirational so many times....http://www.ted.com/talks
I've also been blogging about the fantastic open content/open learning resources I've been finding as the movement matures and explores at http://dl1.yukoncollege.yk.ca/open
I've got other resources if people are interested.
Certain groups within Medicine seem to be using Web2.0 technology to share information cross-institutionally quite successfully, I could list 20 examples here, but they are so specific to medicine that it probably isn't relavant to this group. However check out The Classroom Teaching part of my wiki. I'm hoping to do two things here:
- Encourage faculty to share their favourite teaching method
- I'm starting to have some success with this, but the usual complaint is, "Why would I go to all that trouble if I can't get formal publication credit."
- People frequently say this is impossible, so I've been taking pictures of active learning in classes of 80-100 (our first year size)
- You can see some of the pictures here.
When encouraging faculty members to "share their favourite teaching method" - on wikis or elsewhere, it sounds as though many wonder, "Why bother?" You seem to be suggesting that scholarship of teaching and learning won't fly. I'm anxious to hear how how you respond to "the usual complaint," and what forms of encouragement or scaffolding you may provide in either face-to-face or online professional development venues.
I'm working on having blog/wiki writing recognized as a scholarly activity equivalent to a presentation. The scholarship of teaching and learning is sometimes difficult to argue outside Education faculties.
I'm working on next generation faculty development in F2F as well, my regular participants are now presenting some of the workshops I created. I act as support in the background and they fly.