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Learning Together: Two Models of an Inter-Institutional Collaboration for Faculty Development

Kenneth Hirschmann (Columbia University & Jewish Theological Seminary, USA)
Judith Cahn (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 10:15am
Faculty and Professional Development & Support
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Northern Hemisphere C
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 6

Best practices and lessons learned for two cohorts of an inter-institutional faculty development program, encompassing collaboration, online pedagogy, and educational technology.

Extended Abstract

To foster inter-institutional collaboration and improvements in the use of technology in Jewish education, an historic large grant was awarded to three prominent Jewish higher education organizations. Each institution designated a member to a leadership and management team, and in partnership with the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) developed a comprehensive and substantive faculty development program. As a result of this collaborative effort, two cohorts of faculty, culled from each of the three institutions, participated in a faculty development program that emphasized collaboration among the participants, online pedagogy, and educational technology.

The Cohort I program model was a fully blended model involving a 10-month period where faculty alternated between meeting for in-person workshops (with both live and virtual participants) on five occasions and completing five online modules centered on educational technology tools and best practices in online learning, housed on the Canvas LMS. Two in-person showcase events (in the middle and at the end) highlighted the work the faculty completed in modifying an element of their syllabus.

The Cohort II program model was more of a hybrid model where faculty, CCNMTL, and program staff met together for a 4-day, intensive, face-to-face conference held in conjunction with a major educational technology conference. It was preceded and followed by months of online modules, culminating in a final in-person showcase event to share accomplishments, results, and discuss challenges.

Both cohorts used a project-based approach with content modules introducing participants to a variety of technological tools along with pedagogical approaches based on best practices and theories to aid in the enhancement of their courses.

Faculty development, higher education administrators, and eLearning specialists will benefit from this workshop based on lessons learned and consider future opportunities for multiple institutions to work collaboratively and pool resources to develop faculty development programs.

The workshop will focus on:

- How the three institutions collaboratively developed the program
- Challenges encountered in the development and implementation of the program
- Lessons learned from each program model
- Outcomes of the Program
- Demonstration of Faculty Projects
- Discussion of the program elements that were successful
- Discussion of best practices for faculty development program design for future cohorts of a collective group of faculty from multiple organizations.

Presenter Bios:

Kenny Hirschmann is Senior Educational Technologist with the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL), working primarily with the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). He holds a Master of Arts in eLearning Design from the University of Colorado at Denver and is currently pursuing a Master of Education in Adult Learning and Leadership at TeacherÕs College, Columbia University. He has over 20 years of experience working with technology, with about 7 of those years spent in higher education. In his role at CCNMTL, he regularly works in a faculty development capacity, aiding faculty in utilizing various tools and technologies for teaching and learning. Additionally, he has taught online for CU Denver for the last 3 years. As part of the project team for the fellowship program he played an integral role in the design, development and implementation, as well as providing support to the JTS fellows.

Dr. Judith Cahn is Director of John Jay Online of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. She holds a Masters of Education from Harvard University and a Doctorate in Education from Yeshiva University. She has over 30 years experience in educational technology, has developed and taught blended and online courses in higher education, and has presented and published on topics in educational technology and educational psychology. She served as Director of eLearning and Distance Education at Yeshiva University where, among her responsibilities, she managed an inter-institutional collaborative eLearning effort involving three institutions, a program generously funded by a foundation grant. The collaborative included faculty development programming focusing on educational technology and online learning.

Lead Presenter

Kenny Hirschmann joined the Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning in 2012 as a Senior Educational Technologist primarily providing support to the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). A native New Yorker, he previously lived in Burlington, VT where he was a Senior eLearning Developer at Champlain College. He has a diverse background that includes over 20 years of experience with instructional design, web development, graphic design, project management and customer service.

Kenny received his B.A. in Psychology from Oberlin College, a certificate in Web Development from Champlain College, and an M.A. in Information and Learning Technology from the University of Colorado at Denver.

Kenny is currently pursuing an Ed.M. in Adult Learning and Leadership at Teacher's College, Columbia University.