Last week I wrote about the UMaine System Faculty Institute keynotes. Now the sessions deserve some attention. Certain themes emerged across them:
The first session (on virtual, multidisciplinary service learning) showcased a project spanning multiple courses from different UMS campuses. Intercampus collaboration also came up in the second and third sessions (on supporting distance learners and on embedding services respectively).
On the flipside these same sessions raised issues of disconnection. Lorien Lake-Corral and Pamela Proulx-Curry (Session 1) noted how students would have benefitted from interaction with students from the other courses. Likewise Paul Dexter, Melinda Hull, and Shelley Taylor (Session 2) mentioned that online students reported feelings of isolation. Lois-Ann Kuntz, Michelle Lisi, and Maureen Perry (Session 3) recommended connecting the various support services.
The second session and the fourth session (on accessibility) both spoke to the need for students to have some choices. The Session 4 presenters expressed this idea in concrete ways. Stacey Brownlie addressed the different ways we can make material available for students. Julie Alexandrin raised a key related question: is a written paper the only way to demonstrate learning? Outside of a writing course could a student convey the ideas through art, music, video, dance, etc.?
The fifth session, with Anne Fensie, reiterated the accessibility options mentioned in Session 4. It also brought out a theme from session 1, the idea of simply trying something. Though I wasn’t trying anything nearly as ambitious as the multicampus service learning project, I did try Screencast-o-Matic. Whether or not I liked it (I did.), I could at least know from having tried it.
I could not do justice to any of these sessions. Each one deserved its own post. All the same I offer this taste of my professional learning, my developing information literacy.