Slide that says "It is in each others' shadow that we flourish" along with the phrase in Irish and a small window with a picture of Leigh Graves Wolf (white female.)

A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a series of college conversations on the topic of teaching doctoral courses online.

The links to the recordings from all of the sessions can be found here: https://my.education.asu.edu/teaching-support/resources/teaching-doctoral-courses-in-fall-thematic-conversations/

I facilitated the following discussion: How might we improvise and carry out individualized, responsive teaching, at the doctoral level, online? and co-facilitated with my colleague Dr. Erin Rotheram-Fuller the conversation titled How might we build an intellectual community in an online doctoral seminar?

It was a great opportunity to discuss openly with faculty and students.

I would also like to share something I was asked to write for faculty as we continue to prepare for Fall 2020.

As we consider approaches for continuing to teach in uncertain times this fall, I was asked to share a few thoughts and resources that may be helpful. I have been teaching at the graduate level for about 15 years now (and prior to that, in K-12 settings) – so I’m coming up on 23 years of being an educator.  Throughout the entire time, I’ve always been curious, always finding ways to improve my craft and knowledge of my subject area (which happens to be the use of technology in educational settings.) Over the years, I have learned that there are no magic tricks or shortcuts. Even though I’ve been teaching for a long time, right now, I too am learning how to teach in uncertain times right along with everyone else. Many things I’ve done in the past, don’t quite work anymore.

As with any meaningful endeavor, a tip here or there will get you through in the short term, but, at the end of the day it takes time and care – to teach both online and offline. I don’t separate the two, I teach (in all modes.) While I’ve found patterns and behaviors that work well for me in different modalities, they may not work for others. I have found discussions around critical digital pedagogyand humanizing online learning particularly helpful.

I have found, for me, one of the best ways I learn is through dialogue and observation. Dialogue with texts and with others (via reading, tweeting, and talking.) I also learn from others, observing how they teach and interact – continually evolving and shaping my own behaviors and practices. It will come as no surprise to hear that I approach my teaching through the lens of a bricoleur.

With that said, I’ve been asked to share a few resources to start a dialogue with you, my MLFTC colleagues.  I’ll start with a few things I have recently created/shared in response to COVID-19. Each link contains many additional links and resources.

When I first started teaching at ASU in the Fall of 2018, I explored all of the supports available for teaching online, here are a few that I found particularly helpful:

  • My Leadership & Innovation EdD colleagues.  They have been teaching doctoral courses for many years entirely online and are a wealth of knowledge and collegial support.
  • Dr. Lisa Kammerlacher (lk@asu.edu) – E-Learning and Instruction Librarian. Dr. Kammerlacher is a tremendous resource and was instrumental as I was transitioning one of my courses to a “Zero Textbook” course.
  • Dr. Meredith Toth and the MLFTC Digital Learning Team. I always bookmark resources they share via email and they often hold office hours for just in time support.

Finally, the ASU’s Digital Tool “sunburst” which lists all digital tools available to faculty and students. There are very long conversations that can be had about tools (and how “free” tools are not really free.) Starting with this sunburst gave me an idea of what resources have been vetted, approved, and purchased by ASU so that I could consider using them in my teaching.  (The entire Teach Online website is full of very helpful resources.)

But ultimately, lists (or in this case starbursts) can feel very overwhelming if you don’t know where to start.  I don’t believe in creating “best practices” lists. There are only well informed practices – we all teach in highly different contexts, what is “best” for one class, may not be best for another. It is through dialogue that we will find out what approaches resonate and fit in our educational spaces.

 

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