HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
faculty learning communities
Faculty Learning Communities (FLC) are spaces that allow for improving one’s pedagogy, seeking intellectual stimulation, meeting other colleagues who are interested in similar topics, or
Dana Schutz has a visually cacophonous, 13-foot-long painting titled Building the Boat While Sailing. In reviewing the work for the New Yorker, Andrea Scott referred to it as, “an allegory for the process of making a painting.” We think this painting might also serve as an allegory for teaching, which is very much its own creative process. Even in courses with clearly stated objectives and fastidious alignment, the learning environment changes shape frequently as a given term unfolds.
Technology has enabled a boom in online education. No longer does location dictate where students can take classes and/or where instructors can teach. While this increased flexibility is appealing to many, it can also lead to feelings of disconnect and isolation (Dolan, 2011). As educational leaders, we want to be able to connect with the instructors who are teaching in our programs. As faculty, we want to be included in professional development opportunities and conversations about curriculum with our peers. But how can this be accomplished when people are not available at the same time or located in the same place? Well, by using technology.
Your institution may have department meetings and may even have communities of practice, but does it have faculty learning communities (FLCs)? An effective FLC can positively impact its members’ engagement in and involvement with both their discipline and their institution.
“Self-knowledge is the beginning of all knowledge,” writes C. Roland Christensen, one of the true masters of discussion teaching. He is referring to his development as a teacher—how he arrived at the techniques that made him so effective. Most teacher accounts of growth are not as instructive and insightful as this one. Best of all, the approach he used to develop his discussion leadership skills is one that can be used to develop many teaching skills.
Faculty Learning Community Brings Together Diverse Group to Discuss Asynchronous Learning and Trends
No matter how long you’ve taught, there is always something you can learn from colleagues. This is the concept behind Kent State University’s faculty learning communities (FLCs). Currently, KSU offers 13 FLCs, one of which focuses solely on asynchronous communication.