I am currently teaching online courses in graduate programs (M.Ed. and Ed.D programs) that use the term “collaboratory” in the course title. The term collaboratory is considered a combination of the terms collaboration and laboratory (Lunsford & Bruce, 2001; Wulf, 1993). The courses use a collaboratory approach and learning spaces to support graduate students examine their practice and learning from engaging in meaningful inquiry in the field.
Students in these courses are generally full-time professionals completing graduate programs and are grouped into cohorts or class groupings based on their specializations. As such, the Collaboratory of Practice courses were designed to support the application of knowledge in real world settings by graduate students in cohorts who investigate and learn from inquiry in the field and examine problems of practice in their workplace or related to their professional work using various research methods and a collaboratory approach.
The collaboratory approach is also considered a fusion of two important developments in contemporary research: communities of practice and collaboration. Communities of practice are groups of people (in this case cohorts based on specializations) who deepen their knowledge and expertise in an area by engaging in active inquiry. A collaboratory can also be considered a learning space or laboratory for learning and collaboration. In this collaborative virtual environment, scholars work together and learn alongside peers in their cohort. Since students move through many courses with a similar cohort, they develop relationships with cohort members and can build trusting and collaborative relationships.
One strategy used by instructors to help students accomplish work in the course both individually and in collaboration with peers is to organize small groups (~5 members) within the cohort into studio groups (Grego & Thompson, 2008). Studio groups provide students with an opportunity to collaborate with peers in a writing and sharing space for collaborative knowledge building and idea improvement. Various online services can be used to support studio group collaboration including threaded discussion forums, shared documents (i.e. Google Docs, presentations, etc.), virtual meeting spaces (i.e. Adobe Connect, Skype, Hangouts, etc.) and other collaborative online spaces. The collaboratory approach and learning spaces used in the Collaboratory of Practice courses serve as a source of active inquiry and learning, an opportunity to respond to contextually based problems of practice, and an opportunity to take an inquiry stance in the company of peers.
Copy of slides from the session “What is a Collaboratory” for EdD graduate students on July 9, 2015 presented with Dr. Brenda Spencer – EdD Collab Lunch Session_Slides
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The Teaching Assistantship Preparation Program (TAPP) is designed to provide educational development for graduate students about the role and responsibilities of the work as a graduate assistant in teaching.
I was invited by the Office of Teaching and Learning to lead a session for TAPP on Wednesday, February 25th from 11 a.m. to noon. The session will focus on how to facilitate online courses. Topics in the session include instructional design, synchronous and asynchronous communications, tools for student interactivity, cultivating a scholarly community of inquiry, organizing online spaces, developing instructor presence, and formative assessment strategies.
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I was invited to share a presentation with http:http://www.drbarbbrown.com/wp-content/uploadshttp://www.drbarbbrown.com/wp-content/uploadsoclmooc.wordpress.comhttp://www.drbarbbrown.com/wp-content/uploads the oclmooc group this week. According to their website #oclmooc is an “open and connected learning Mooc” and a “hybrid between a course and community” aiming to:
– share ideas and best practices for learning in an open online environment
– connect with learners from Alberta (and around the globe)
– share ideas, tools and supports related to connected and open learning
– model free and open learning for everyone and anyone who wants to learn.
Since I couldn’t join for a webinar during the scheduled time for presentations, I offered to create a video presentation that could be shared with the #oclmooc community. One of the co-consipirators or volunteers involved in organizing and inspiring community members, @EHordyskiLuong kindly joined me when I recorded the video presentation.
Here’s the presentation I shared:
In the presentation, I ask participants to reflect on their use of technological networks. Do you share your work? Identify with a group? Collaborate? Take action? To what extent do technological networks support learners? I also ask participants to consider the terms “technological fluency.” I suggested technological fluency can be considered a combination of deep understanding, learning, skills, literacies and competencies within a contemporary learning culture. As a society, I believe we are beyond asking if technology should be used for learning and need to consider meaningful use of technology as part of our learning designs. You might ask to what extent or how fluent do we need to be and do our students need to be?
How are you actively building your technological fluency and connecting with others? Participants were invited to start sharing using the #SoMe activity designed by @InnovativeEdu, Lisa Nielsen. You can see the shared #SoMe videos added by #oclmooc participants to the padlet at http:http://www.drbarbbrown.com/wp-content/uploadshttp://www.drbarbbrown.com/wp-content/uploadspadlet.comhttp://www.drbarbbrown.com/wp-content/uploadsbabrownhttp://www.drbarbbrown.com/wp-content/uploadssome
If you would like more information about developing your own #SoMe activity, you may wish to review Lisa Nielsen’s innovative educator blog at http:http://www.drbarbbrown.com/wp-content/uploadshttp://www.drbarbbrown.com/wp-content/uploadstheinnovativeeducator.blogspot.cahttp://www.drbarbbrown.com/wp-content/uploads2014http://www.drbarbbrown.com/wp-content/uploads08http://www.drbarbbrown.com/wp-content/uploadsits-some-great-back-to-school-activity.html
I thought #oclmooc participants might find this interesting. As I was reviewing my twitter feed this week, I found it fascinating to read recent posts by both authors I discussed in my presentation– Clay Shirky and Lisa Nielsen. I referenced Clay Shirky’s work in relation to four steps in networking and Lisa Nielsen’s idea about the #SoMe activity and brought ideas of these two leading thinkers together in my presentation.
In the following two articles you will see how both Clay Shirky and Lisa Nielsen challenge ideas about meaningful use of technology in designing learning. Here’s the two articles demonstrating two different perspectives on the debate in usinghttp://www.drbarbbrown.com/wp-content/uploadscontrolling use of technology in class:
Clay Shirky’s article in the Washington Post – Why a leading professor of new media just banned technology use in class
Lisa Nielsen’s article in Tech&Learning – Don’t follow the lead of @cshirky in banning technology
Here’s another question for the #oclmooc community to consider: What are your thoughts about the debate in usinghttp://www.drbarbbrown.com/wp-content/uploadscontrolling use of technology in K-12 and in higher education?