NWeLearn: Digital Fluency Initiative and Faculty Development

English: George Fox University

George Fox University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Digital Fluency Initiative and Faculty Development

Linda Samek, Provost; Robin Ashford, Senior Librarian; Anna Berardi, Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy; Gloria Doherty, Director of Education Technology and Hybrid Learning Programs at George Fox University

The ability of faculty to engage 21st Century students requires levels of digital fluency not always found in experienced faculty members. George Fox University is using a model of faculty development that provides a summer boot camp followed by small group learning and one-on-one mentoring throughout the academic year. This has been highly successful with the goal that each participant will recruit others to the initiative to extend the program eventually to the full faculty.

We began by taking a poll using Poll Everywhere: https://pollev.com/

A faculty led peer mentoring program.

Started out as “Crazy Women of Technology.” They got involved with ISTE and EdTech Women but were not interested in the rules and cost.

220 full-time and tenure track faculty. They had a retreat to work out what they were doing. The President went to Cupertino and decided that they needed to do more at George Fox with technology. All of the traditional venues for training gave mixed results. Faculty focus groups said that small peer groups were the way to go.

Funded with 85k with a contingent that there were positive results with student learning outcomes.

ECAR studies in 2014 showed that the faculty were more interested in improving student outcomes with tech, not just tenure and compensation.

ECAR 2015 Edu Tech and Faculty Development.

Improving Digital Literacy – Solvable Challenge – NMC Horizon Report 2015.

How to define digital literacy? Requires substantial leadership and support.

NMC Report 2016


Technology is neither good nor bad but can result in better learning outcomes.

The end goal is to increase student success and engagement. The method is to increase faculty  engagement. Each year, faculty apply to become and member of DFI (Digital Fluency Initiative). They have a Director of Digital Fluency.

Other universities have similar programs but they are not integrated with the yearly program of professional development. For instance, I have seen “faculty bootcamps” and Spring meetings, but there is usually no connection between them. I really like how much the faculty lead these events. They have a budget and a cycle of prof dev. This is a peer driven model,

Topics covered included Course Construct & Pedagogy, Online Methods, Formative and Summative Assessment, Flipped Classrooms, Online Engagement, Online Course Builds.

They gathered a lot of information through surveys to determine Digital Fluency. There was a 70% response rate because there was a drawing for a new iPad.

I am still wondering about survey questions that ask “Do you want to know about Twitter?” when they do not understand how it can be used to engage students or improve student learning outcomes and engagement.

Adjunct faculty are not included in this program. They decided to start with full-time, contracted file.

They have an innovation grant to develop a MOOC with badging.

Faculty let peer mentoring is already expanding. There are informal professional development groups and peer collaboration. “Brown bag” lunches. The mentors are writing case studies and presenting at conferences.

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