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Innovations in Conversations About Teaching

Beyond the Workshop

Edited By Maria B. Hopkins and Rachel Bailey Jones

Centers for teaching and learning all face the same dilemma: In a context where faculty are not required to partake in our services, how do we provide transformative learning experiences to which faculty willingly give their limited time? The answer, Maria B. Hopkins and Rachel Bailey Jones propose, is to move away from a workshop model of faculty development and toward a model that supports the kinds of connections among faculty that lead to self-sustaining growth and development. This edited book provides a breadth of innovative alternatives to fixed-schedule faculty development workshops that faculty are rarely attending due to the increasing complexity of their professional lives. The audience for this book is higher education administrators, faculty, and staff responsible for faculty development related to teaching and learning. Each chapter provides a detailed description of a faculty development initiative in practice that provide opportunities for creativity, adaptability, and collaboration among faculty. Public, private, and community colleges, small and large, research-focused and teaching-focused institutions are represented. The editors have taken on this project because this is the resource they wish they had when they began their work as directors of the teaching lab at their institution.

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6. “Turn to Your Neighbor”: Placing Faculty Dialogue and Peer Learning at the Center of Teaching Development


Rebecca Johnson, Jeremiah Parry-Hill, and Marty Golia

The Guided Online Learning Development (GOLD) program is a series of workshops that the instructional design staff of the Innovative Learning Institute (ILI) at the Rochester Institute of Technology designed to help RIT’s faculty with online course preparation. We, members of the instructional design staff, have offered this series every semester since fall 2014. We created GOLD to support an urgent need to develop new online general education courses—in fact, GOLD began as GenEd Online Learning Development; since then, we have regularly engaged in “backronyming” to keep the name of the series aligned with its focus. Over time, how we understand our role in supporting faculty teaching development has evolved, so has our approach to these workshops. As we worked through revisions to this chapter during COVID-19 social isolation, we have wondered whether our title still makes sense. “Turn to Your Neighbor” now feels a little out of step and nostalgic. How do we talk about the importance of shared experiences and dialogue in a time that forbids shared spaces?

In 2014, we launched the program like first-time instructors would, with a focus on transmitting the information that we thought faculty needed to develop an online course. As we gained experience, we realized that the conversations that faculty have with one another during the sessions were as important as the content of the sessions themselves. Now, in this time of distance teaching and learning for all, we realize...

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