…the click of a mouse enabled you to find and talk with another faculty member anywhere who teaches just what you do?
…you had your own easy-to-use website designed for what you as a Professor do? A website where you can store your teaching materials, blog about your field or your teaching, or keep your vitae and teaching portfolio?
We all know that we need to improve the quality and effectiveness of teaching. But how? Broad generalizations only go so far. We need to tap into our collective experience. We need to share.
But higher education isn’t structured to facilitate effective teaching. Faculty have been organized as artisans for hundreds of years. We teach different subjects that make different demands on us. Specialization and decentralization has taken it’s toll. When it comes to the detailed questions about teaching, questions like Should I cover topic x before y, or y before x? or Is there a resource or example that really works well for this issue? or even just How should I sequence the syllabus for this course that I’ve never taught before?, we are usually on our own. There aren’t many people around us that can help us. Particularly at smaller schools or among adjunct faculty, we are often artisans working in isolation.
What we really need is a network where we can share, converse, and connect with each other.
We want to faculty to be connected and be able to find and talk with each other. The diversity of approaches to providing each faculty member with a voice and domain poses part of the challenge. Let’s start with the idea that all faculty might have a WordPress site(s). Some will be with WordPress-as-a-Service (WPaaS) providers such as WordPress.com or Edublogs or even malartusites.org. Some will be on their own self-hosted sites, possibly with with ReclaimHosting or a commercial hosting service. Some will be part of a WP multi-site or multi-network hosted by their institution’s IT facility. We want to build a WordPress bundled-plugin (like JetPack) that registers the faculty member, where they teach, and what they teach to a central database (possibly even an open authorization site). Then the plugin provides an easy way from the WP dashboard to search for other professors by subject, discipline, type of institution, or name and connect with just a couple clicks.
Each Faculty Member Should Have:
- Profile of where & what they teach
- Courses, level, topics
- Contact info & social id’s
- Teaching Portfolio
- Personal Blog/web page
- Favorite Links/Resources list
- Conversations page
- Custom themes
- Storage space / hosting space (in later versions)
- Past syllabi
- Teaching resources or objects or papers
- Membership is validated.
- both institutional and individual memberships are possible
- Ad hoc groups according to interests
- by Subject/Discipline/Course Topic
- by level of course such as Graduate/Upper Division/Lower Division/First year/Developmental
- by Type of Institution (public, community college, private, religious, private, etc)
- by level within the institution such as College/Division/School/Department/Program/Concentration (primarily for Institutional members)
- or any combination of the above