Part 2: What do I do? (Part 1)
7:20am: Arrive at Vancouver Island University. Walk in and smile at the rogue bunnies. Turn a blind eye to the faculty member who is feeding the rogue bunnies.
7:30am: Host an early morning Show N Share. The Show N Share series is an opportunity for faculty from a variety of disciplines to informally share and discuss some of their best and most effective teaching strategies. Today, faculty from the Aboriginal Bridging Program are showcasing an assessment practice that focuses on acknowledging student’s prior learning. The importance of this type of assessment practice and its applications to other programs are discussed deeply and at length by the participants attending. In the weeks leading up to this event, I have been liaising with key faculty, inviting them to participate, supporting them in the design of their talk, and organizing the logistics around the event.
8:30am: Return to office. Breeze through emails. Answer the important ones. Which is all of them.
9:00am-10:30am: Meet with the Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Specialist (CTLS) team. This meeting is structured around the design and implementation of our upcoming Recognition of Achievements in Teaching and Learning Program. We brainstorm and plot about which components to include in the program and how to best honour and support the achievements of our teaching faculty. We decide that the program will include a variety of course redesign institutes, each one with a particular focus like assessment and evaluation; the scholarship of teaching and learning; or online and blended learning. I make a note that I’d like to work on the SoTL one. We decide that other components of the larger program will include peer observations, course portfolios, teaching portfolios, inquiry projects, and a blended course on the principles of effective teaching and learning. We will have to design, create and facilitate these opportunities. We schedule more meetings.
11:00am-12:00pm: Consult one-on-one with a faculty member who is struggling with the design of a course that they have never taught before. They are pondering how to design authentic, first-year assignments that connect clearly with the learning outcomes. They also have questions about summative assessment and are wanting feedback on two rubrics that they have designed for the course. We make progress, but we schedule another time to meet after they have had some time to work a little more on the course and the rubrics.
12:00pm-1:00pm: Attend a Lunch and Learn session offered by Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity. Today’s session profiles an interdisciplinary community-based undergraduate research course. Faculty members from three disciplines talk about how they partnered to offer this community-based course and discuss the challenges they faced, as well as the positive outcomes. I realize both how innovative and rich this experience is and wonder what other courses like this might be offered. Make a note in my calendar to follow-up and question what role the Centre might help in facilitating more of these opportunities.
1:00pm-2:00pm: Co-facilitate a ped-tech session for trades faculty interested in using online tools to design and use rubrics for daily assessment. Working with a Learning Technology Support Specialist (LTSS), I navigate a sweet spot of pedagogy-technology togetherness, helping to ensure that tools to support online teaching and learning are aligned with principles of good teaching and learning. We discuss how to design an online rubric in our Learning Management System (LMS), but also how to design an effective rubric in general. Together, we field questions and provide subsequent support options for them if they have more questions.
2:00pm-3:30pm: Work. That elusive one and half hour block of time in my calendar that is NOT colour-coded. I close my door. Today I am working on designing project activity plans for a province-wide curriculum enhancement project for the trades. I have met with instructors previously, and based on the work we’ve done together I am piecing together activity plans and designing holistic and analytic rubrics that I will have them proof upon completion.
3:30pm-5:30pm: Attend an Indigenous Learning Circle, co-facilitated through our Centre with the Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement. Faculty from a variety of disciplines across campus come together in these circles 3-4 times throughout the semester to engage in conversations with other faculty, VIU Elders, and Indigenous students. Together we talk about what “indigenization” of higher education means to us and our institution. I sit and listen. Today I hear some powerful stories and realize I would never hear these stories and have these relationships without this circle. The stories and the people who come to the circle inform me in a variety of ways, enrich my understandings, influence my shifting perspectives and ways of knowing, being and doing in powerful, inarticulate-able ways.
5:30pm: Help wrap up all the extra food. Find hungry students to feed. Go home.