Attend, engage and build community

Attend, engage and build community

Attend, engage, learn, and build community: Talking point online events Anne Campbell, The Open University The Open University: background Part time distance students: part time distance staff Largest in the UK with ~170,000 part-time students, around 40% of UK part time World leader in flexible distance learning Around 5,000 Associate Lecturers (ALs), our part-time tutoring staff All work at a distance, usually from home Around 5,000 academic, academic-related and support staff working in offices or from

home across the country Large, highly distributed workforce Tutoring staff rarely have the chance to meet colleagues face to face Challenges for distance developers When staff are geographically distributed home workers How do we... create opportunities for development which distributed distance staff want to and are able to attend? design events which incorporate some of the features of informal, situated & social learning and collaboration, which usually happen naturally in the workplace? (Milligan et al, 2014; Clus, 2011) create a sense of presence and community? (Kear, 2011) make development relevant to

staffs own working practices? (Ottenbreich-Leftwich, 2010) 3 Online staff development at the OU For part-time tutoring (and other) staff Range of online initiatives, including self-study and moderated modules, and exemplars Flexible participation within a structure Caters to geographic separation Brings staff together from across the distributed university Time-limited enhances sense of presence Reflection and collaboration with peers builds community, builds confidence, inspires new ideas for practice

(Campbell, 2016; Campbell & Storey, 2015; Macdonald & Campbell, 2012, 2010; Campbell & Macdonald, 2011) 4 The Talking point initiative One day online staff development events Campbell (2016) 5 Flexible design Different topics, different participant numbers, different types of event Topics have included: online synchronous tuition employability graduateness group tuition purposes

correspondence tuition Event sizes range from 30 to 150 participants Event type ranges from conference style to workshop style events (Campbell, 2016; Campbell & Jones, 2014; Campbell & Edwards, 2012) 6 Participant perceptions Post-event questionnaire free text comments loved feeling part of a live community interacting and contributing and learning. The experience of connecting with colleagues from all over the university is always enjoyable on these occasions

(It was good) hearing from OU staff that I wouldnt ordinarily ever get to meet with. great interactivity from the group taking part. Generally very informative and stimulating discussions in the forum. Lot of policies going on that I was previously unaware of. I picked up a lot of good pointers from experienced practitioners. More events like this please, its easy to feel isolated as ALs especially with technology, so this was great. 7 Lessons learned Flexible design allows knowledge building, discussion & reflection on the topic at hand Forum and live chat spaces allow staff to meet informally,

share practice and reflect Helps build & maintain a sense of community and belonging Allows building and maintaining of personal ties Can reinforce a shared sense of purpose and belief Brings staff together across geographic space and across discipline areas Staff attend and engage when topic is directly relevant to their own practice Key to success is having skilled peer presenters/moderators involved in planning and delivery they have particular insight into challenges and issues face by part time distance staff For participants and presenters/facilitators it can be an intense

and stimulating experience 8 Practical points In large events, some participants can feel lost or not heard useful to use breakouts in the live sessions The message base in the forum can get very large, even in smaller scale events use summarising and archiving The restricted timing (usually over one day) means staff commit the time needed Need to choose dates which dont clash with other commitments where possible so early planning and advertising to key members of staff is critical Signpost dates early to intended delegates, timely reminders before the event Technical help on the day is critical

Dont think it is a cheap option! 9 Thoughts This is an adaptable concept Could a similar design be used for CPD for distance or local staff in your institution? Could we use a similar design to run events for students? 10 Contact details Anne Campbell Educational developer The Open University [email protected]

Published article on Talking Point at: Campbell, A (2016) Talking Point Flexible Targeted Online Staff Development that Works, Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2016(1): 3 DOI: 11 References Campbell, A (2016) Talking Point Flexible Targeted Online Staff Development that Works, Journal of Interactive Media in Education 2016(1):3, DOI: Campbell A & Edwards C (2012), Engaging staff in institutional discussion using a one day online event, Presentation at the 9th annual Enhancement themes conference, March 2012, Edinburgh. Retrieved from http:// pdf Campbell, A and Jones, M (2014), A community approach to online staff development design, Presentation at

the SEDA Spring Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference 2014 'Engaging staff: Engaging students', 15 16 May 2014, Newcastle. Retrieved from FINAL.pdf Campbell, A and Macdonald, J (2011), Experiential learning in online staff development. Proceedings of the 2010 18th International Symposium on Improving Student Learning, incorporating the 7th ISSOTL conference. Global Theories and Local Practices: Institutional, Disciplinary and Cultural Variations, Ed Chris Rust, Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development

Campbell, A and Storey, G (2015), How do we develop part-time teaching staff in best practice for using Blackboard Collaborate with student groups?, Presentation at Blackboard Teaching & Learning Conference: Innovate and Educate 2015, 15 17 April 2015, Liverpool, available at http:// Clus, M L (2011), Informal learning in the workplace: a review of the literature, Australian Journal of Adult Learning 51 (2), 355-373 Kear, K (2011), Online and social networking communities. Oxon: Routledge Macdonald J and Campbell A (2012), Demonstrating online teaching in the disciplines: A systematic approach to activity design for online synchronous tuition, British Journal of Educational Technology 43(6) 883-891, DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2011.01238.x Macdonald, J and Campbell, A (2010), Activity design in online professional development for university staff. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning 2010/1, published 09/03/2010. Retrieved from Milligan, C, Littlejohn, A and Margaryan, A (2014), Workplace Learning in Informal Networks. Journal of 12

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