Developing a Professional Development Collaboratory: August 18-31, 2008

Learning Collaboratory design and this week's focus

Learning Collaboratory design and this week's focus

by Nancy Randall -
Number of replies: 3

Greetings all-

Bouquets of appreciation for your very thoughtful responses to the first week's question. The wealth of expertise and experience represented in this online community  is astounding. It is affirming to read that so many others are trying to make sense of the explosion of online professional development opportunities.  Many thanks to Sylvia Currie who harvested responses and organized them in the seminar wiki.

This week's  focus builds on requests for further clarification of the Collaboratory concept. That leads us naturally to an in-depth investigation of the notion of exemplary online professinal development sites.   

Paul Stacey  in his posting of Tuesday, 19 August 2008, 01:40 PM, provides an overview of the Collaboratory concept, which is being funded by BCcampus.  Sylvia Currie, in the seminar wiki, provides a definition of a professional development collaboratory. The expressed desire of BC faculty developers is to create an effective, interactive and engaging online PD collaboration site. 

The Collaboratory Design Team is working with a 'wish list'  that includes integration of exemplary online discussion sites such as SCoPE as well as selective rss feeds;  an expertise inventory to encourage inter- and cross- institutional sharing of disciplinary and professional expertise;  an easily accessible international conference and events calendar that integrates the full range of post-secondary professional development;  a database of  teaching and learning (SoTL) funding opportunities;  a teaching awards database, as well as an 'art of teaching' commons that features high quality and relevant post-secondary PD resources. We are influenced by the international open resources network movement, which strives to build expertise through an open and democratic online community. To encourage participation, the Collaboratory Design team is debating whether virtually all functions should enable both 'grazing' and contributing.  

This brings us to this week's focus questions, which several of our participants have already begun to investigate:  What are examples of exemplary online PD sites?  What criteria describe exemplary online PD sites?

Given the range of possibilities in design and function, the Collaboratory design team would appreciate your input on essential elements. For example, Wendy Kraglund-Gauthier, in her posting of Friday, 22 August 2008, 11:22 AM, notes that significant criteria are site stability, easy navigation, currency, relevancy, free or very inexpensive, and reputable and respected facilitators.

What are your perspectives? If you wish to do so, please add your contributions to the seminar wiki.

In reply to Nancy Randall

Re: Learning Collaboratory design and this week's focus

by Sylvia Currie -
Nancy's question:
What are examples of exemplary online PD sites? What criteria describe exemplary online PD sites?

The Sloan Consortium site has some nice qualities. I subscribe to the Sloan-C listserv (free). Most of the other services and resources are fee-based. As a full member I'm sure I would have a better sense of the details of what happens on this site, but from an outsider looking in here are a few things that stood out:
  • easy to navigate
  • ability to comment on journal articles
  • community peer review process for submissions
  • some social features, like who's online
  • orientation pages based on your role (administrator, newcomer, faculty) with display of recent content related to that role
In reply to Nancy Randall

Re: Learning Collaboratory design and this week's focus

by Deirdre Bonnycastle -
Blog Carnivals are an underused method of doing collaborative faculty development. A Blog Carnival is like an online journal, but people submit their blog articles. For readers, it increases what is available and for writers, it increases readersip. Here is my Active Learning Blog Carnival, it has readers in every country except Russia, I recieve about 40 submissions and pick about 20/month. I've had one person volunteer to be the guest editor and would love to have others.
In reply to Deirdre Bonnycastle

Re: Learning Collaboratory design and this week's focus

by Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers -
Dear Deirdre,
Thanks for all your posts. I found the Active Learning Blog Carnival just amazing.
Jo Ann