Finding your swing: Seven lessons IT Staff and Faculty can learn from The Boys in the Boat

(Keynote address from the 2015 NWACC IT Roundtable)

University IT staff are committed to helping faculty integrate technology into their instruction. EDUCAUSE’s 2015 Top IT Issues lists “optimizing the use of technology in teaching and learning in collaboration with academic leadership, including understanding the appropriate level of technology to use” (Grajek, 2015, p. 12) as the second most important issue facing IT departments. However, faculty may be resistant to change that focuses on optimization and appropriateness rather than research-based pedagogy. They may wonder why IT only wants to work with “academic leadership” instead of the entire faculty. Pedagogical innovations fall short when groups with similar goals fail to communicate and work together as a team. How can we as NWACC IT staff and faculty avoid common pitfalls and flourish as a cohesive team? Maybe we just need to “find our swing.” In 1936 a relatively unknown rowing coach from the University of Washington, an English boatbuilder, and a team of nine boys who lacked traditional rowing pedigrees surprised the world and delighted their country by “finding their swing” and winning a gold medal in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. In The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown shares a historical account of this amazing feat that includes many life lessons, some which may help us better understand techniques and training regimens that will help us “find our swing.”

Reflections on EdCamp Puget Sound

The Spring Edcamp Puget Sound was held at the Puget Sound ESD on Saturday, May 16, 2015. An Edcamp is an opportunity for teachers at all levels to come together to discuss ideas about teaching and learning that can help improve their practice. Think of it as a free day of professional development for teachers where they get […]

Semantic Text Theme Generation in Collaborative Online Learning Environments

Online students’ ability to self-regulate led to focused attention and time on-task. Given a need for more theoretical work in this area, as well as the potential practical benefits, we sought to compare differences between high versus low-collaboration teams in an online assignment to determine if higher levels of student-to-student collaboration lead to higher levels […]

An Evaluation Of Low Versus High-Collaboration In Online Learning

Faculty from the SOE, SPFC, and SBGE, along with SOE grad students and an undergrad psychology major working in ETM collaborated on a study that was recently published in the Online Learning Journal. The study was a product from a year-long faculty learning community project sponsored by CSFD and ETM. The study explored how the use […]

Can you really use Google Classroom to teach an online or blended course?

The Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University has used Google Classroom as a learning management system (LMS) since it became available in September 2014. Faculty enjoy the ease of use and students enjoy learning with a platform they can use with their own students. Participants in this session will learn: 1) Research-based practices for […]

A Newb’s Reflection on Gamifying a Blended Grad Course

What should instructors do when students ask about the role of games in online learning? Teach a gamified course? Yeah, right. During this session participants will learn about successes and challenges experienced by a game-based learning newb through the gamification of a blended online course.  

Ten Program Innovations in SPU’s Digital Education Leadership MEd

Here are ten innovations we are using in Seattle Pacific University’s Digital Education Leadership MEd. Our goals include: creating an authentic learning environment, promoting high levels of student-to-student and student-to-instructor interaction, and making the degree affordable. You can learn more about the program at 10 Innovations of SPU’s Digital Education Leadership MEd – Created […]

An investigation into the community of inquiry of blended classrooms by a

Faculty Learning Community

A Faculty Learning Community (FLC) comprised of six professors representing different disciplines came together to study, develop, and teach blended learning courses. As an FLC, the researchers sought to evaluate student per- ceptions of the blended learning courses, measured using the Community of Inquiry (CoI) survey, and how these differed across the courses taught. In […]

Symposium: Educational Innovations in Countries around the World

Seattle Pacific University, the School of Education and the Center for Global Curriculum Studies will host a three-day Symposium: Educational Innovations in Countries around the World, our 6th biennial edition of this conference held on the campus of SPU. The dates of the symposium are June 30-July 2, 2015. We expect participants from at least […]

High vs. Low Collaboration Courses: Impact on Learning Presence, Community of Inquiry, and Social Networking

Researchers demonstrated a relationship between learning presence and social engagement; however, research in this area is limited. For example, no distinctions are made as to what role faculty, students, or technology might play in facilitating social engagement. In general, researchers revealed that students’ ability to self-regulate leads to more focused attention, time on-task, and in […]