Last week I was in Kelowna to attend the ETUG Spring Jam, a two-day conference hosted by the Educational Technology Users Group out of BCcampus. (BCcampus is an organization which supports all public higher educational institutions in British Columbia.)

I attended some great sessions and also co-facilitated three of them with colleagues Sylvia Riessner and Sylvia Currie. In two of our sessions – that were “separate but together” – we ran participants through design thinking methods to try to answer a design challenge question. Our question was, “How might BC higher educational institutions effectively share quality teaching and learning resources with each other?”

I’ll write another post soon about what our methods were and how we used them, but in this post I’d like to expand more about the result of these sessions and what the participants came up with about how sharing teaching and learning resources across institutions could happen. In the end, the groups (we had a somewhat different set of people in the first session than the second) came up with the idea to share people resources across institutions, in support of teaching and learning. Now the groups had some ideas of how to do that, but I was mulling over this topic after the sessions and I’d like to brainstorm a few ideas myself here. (And to be honest, I’m not the one that came home with the notes from the session, so I can’t remember all the details of what their ideas were! Look for a post potentially from BCcampus on this at some point soon.)

Photo of the UBC Okanagan Administration building at night

Image by Aidan Whiteley on Flickr, Creative Commons attribution

So, what would it look like to share people-based teaching and learning resources across higher ed institutions, so that we could all up our game in terms of the support we are providing faculty? I suppose I should clarify at this point for some of you who aren’t aware, in addition to being Royal Roads University (RRU) associate faculty, I hold a casual part-time position with RRU’s Centre for Teaching and Educational Technologies as an instructional designer and I’m currently focused on faculty development initiatives, so thinking about this issue is right up my alley.)

Here are some ideas:

1. Invite staff and faculty from other institutions to facilitate one-off synchronous online sessions for our teaching and learning staff and faculty

With tools such as Blackboard Collaborate (that we already have access to and use often) we could easily host people from other institutions to facilitate short 1-1.5 hour interactive sessions about teaching and learning-related topics. To extend the learning opportunity for others who couldn’t make the synchro sessions, we could record, write blog posts or newsletter articles about them, sharing key learning and discussion points. I think higher ed institutions in BC already do this to some degree, but perhaps we could do more.

2. Pair with an instructional designer or learning technologist from another institution on one course development

At RRU it is commonplace for learning designers to work with faculty members – with the support of learning technologists – on development of courses. But what if we could pair two designers from two different institutions to work with one faculty on one course and see how it went? Each designer would go away with new learning, not to mention the faculty. Institutions could swap services of instructional designers or other roles in this way.

3. Embed teaching and learning centre staff in another institution for short periods of time

Just like RRU librarians ’embed’ themselves in courses for very short periods of time so that students can access their assistance for writing and research, it might be easy enough to embed someone from another teaching and learning centre at another institution into our centre for a week or two at a time. They could interact in person or online with our faculty, instructional designers, learning technologies, media technicians and other staff members and share learning.

4. Host an instructional designer or learning technologist in residence for longer periods of time

Thinking a little bigger, what if we could embed a people resource from another institution for a little longer? What would it look like to host someone for perhaps up to three months at a time? Borrowing the idea from artist’s communities everywhere, we could host this person right here in Victoria, but perhaps there could be a way that we could also host them virtually if they were unable to leave their home community for that long. (I’m sure someone has done this somewhere, perhaps even in different sectors.) Perhaps swapping arrangements could be made between institutions so that an “ID in residence” that comes this way be returned by an ID of ours that goes to the other institution the next year.

Of course there are many other micro opportunities for how to share people resources across institutions. Collaborating on writing book chapters, creating MOOCs, or co-facilitating conference presentations are just some other ideas. If you have shared people resources across institutions in other ways, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.