This year, the TLC did something new. In its first year sans director, it took a page out of Plato’s Apology, and decided to examine a slice of life (2015-2016) – both to get a sense of what it does well and what it could do better. At the core of this self-examination is an important principle: utilization. As a service unit of Academic Affairs, TLC staff want to understand how their services are being used. Simple tracking strategies are able to tell us how often services are used and for what reasons. It’s assessment at its most basic, but it does give us some basis for extrapolating on faculty interests in pedagogical strategies and instructional technologies.
This year the TLC facilitated five mostly faculty-led seminars, with an overall attendance of 40 faculty and staff. There were a variety of topics, including verbal Judo, RSS, active learning, the science of student mindsets, and academic study tables. The nine faculty who led the seminars included Jamie Wada, Ann Buchmann, Joyce Hardy, Wendy Jamison, Beth Wentworth, Jesse Sealey, Josh Ellis, Susan Schaeffer, and Kurt Kinbacher. We were pleased to see participants from so many different disciplines with such a broad range of teaching experience (assistant professors to full professors).
Additionally, six multi-session workshops (some of which ran encore performances) provided hands-on and technology-infused instruction. Topics included Turnitin, high-impact practices, Sakai’s Lesson Builder tool, screencasting, object-based learning, and academic blogging. A total of 30 faculty and staff attended these sessions, while seven staff members from the TLC, LLC, and Sandoz Center facilitated and assisted with the sessions: Matthew Perrie, Susan Hines, Elizabeth Ledbetter, Jereme Patterson, Sarah Polak, Christine Fullerton, and Sam Ballard. The workshops – even the under-enrolled ones – have clearly elevated the skillsets of some faculty, but, more importantly, they have spurred closer connections between faculty and staff, which, we hope, will lead to more productive partnerships.
This August, the TLC will launch its first Summer Institute, a two-day event that focuses on online course revision and e-pedagogy. The author of Excellent Online Teaching: Effective Strategies for a Successful Semester, Aaron Johnson, will be on hand for “Tuning Up Your Online Courses.” The institute (which is limited to six participants, due to space and workstation restrictions) is currently full, but we’re already considering an encore. If you’re interested, contact the TLC’s ID Specialist, Elizabeth Ledbetter (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Like any sports enthusiast with a Fitbit, the numbers say something about overall health at a given point in time. Now that the TLC knows its numbers for the academic year (a grand total of 16 facilitators and 70 participants), the goal in 2016-2017 is simply to increase them and to expand its multiuse, presentation, media-development, and training spaces so that more faculty and staff can be accommodated. We are also very keen to keep the quality high and are experimenting with seminars that dovetail into publishing, such as Kurt Kinbacher’s “Academic Study Table,” and publishing that dovetails into book-club gatherings, such as the academic Book Review Club recently proposed by Josh Ellis.
While the TLC has been more focused than usual on its program offerings, which in addition to seminars, workshops, and institutes, include New Faculty Orientation and, beginning this summer, a Faculty Fellows program, it checks in on a number of its other numbers as well. These include data on:
- LMS (Sakai) stability and utilization
- LMS (Sakai) support utilization
- instructional design support utilization
- mediated-classroom support utilization
- mediated-classroom utilization
- web-conferencing and lecture-capture utilization
- academic web utilization
- TLC Blog & Website utilization
- subscription service utilization (Quality Matters & Lynda.com)
- TLC Library utilization (books and, beginning this summer, equipment circulation).
Currently, our utilization reports are monthly, but data will be aggregated into semester and annual reports. So, if you’ve ever been curious about Sakai’s uptime vs downtime or would like to know more about LMS user and ticket statistics, the reports are now available on the Reports page of the TLC Blog. There’s a bevy of other interesting facts to glean, such as how many people use Vidyo and how often or what MAP sub-priorities are advanced through TLC seminars, workshops, and institutes. You can even find out about hot-ticket TLC Blog posts or learn what percentage of faculty have received basic training in Quality Matters.