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Coming Together for Innovative Learning - The CELT Innovation+Design Lab

a man gestures at a cereal box diagram with post-it notes as two women look on to the side

Between May 12th and 14th, 28 faculty from across campus came together as part of the eLII Program for the 2015 Innovation+Design Lab. The purpose of the three-day event was for faculty to learn about and begin to put into practice innovative teaching and learning techniques, often with the assistance of technology tools. The I+D Lab was imagined by CELT, but has become a collaboration between the UKAT and eLearning divisions. Together, the three units were able to provide the best advice and training for both pedagogy and technology.

Dr. Kathi Kern welcoming faculty to the 2015 Innovation+Design Lab.

The event kicked off with some spirited discussions around how technology and other changes (demographics, funding models, etc) have changed the way we teach in higher education. These conversations helped to inform the workshop facilitators, as well to foster an emerging sense of community between the participants. Community, research shows, is important to help faculty feel supported and empowered to make changes in their teaching practices, particularly around the use of technology.

The workshops largely centered around best-practices for pedagogy, although there were a number of introductory-level workshops around specific tools, such as Canvas, Google Apps, Adobe Captivate, and Camtasia - all tools that are supported by UKAT. The pedagogy workshops looked at such issues as digital pedagogy, multimedia learning, formative assessments, hybrid and online course design, and Universal Design. The faculty were all eager to learn and to experiment with tools, techniques, and approaches; the games-based learning workshop was inadvertently flipped when the participants decided to skip the introduction and jump right to making a game!

Faculty present their course design ideas. The morning of the final day of the I+D Lab allowed the time and space for participants to work and experiment with various tools and techniques with the assistance of one of the facilitators from CELT and eLearning, or to request that a topic be explored further in a more formal workshop setting.

Finally, the three-day event ended with a “Mission Impossible” themed design sprint event, which forced the participants to put into practice many of the best-practice approaches from the workshops - project-based learning, collaboration, course design - with a little bit of fun mixed in. One of the tasks was to market a new course like a box of cereal, which ended up with some inspiring and whimsical results.

Faculty enjoyed and appreciated the process, with one participant noting that the three days were “wonderful, very enjoyable, [and] motivating!” Another faculty participant came away feeling inspired: “Great experience--has me thinking about how to incorporate new tools and technologies into the classroom.” Many praised the hard work and knowledge base of the CELT and eLearning staff who facilitated the events over the three days: “I thought the staff from all of the departments did a great job, both in and out of the sessions. It was a very positive experience.”

The I+D Lab is just the start for these faculty. When the Fall Semester starts, they will be grouped into Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) to further learn and discuss, as well as sharing how the implementation process is progressing throughout the academic year. There will be two more occasions during the academic year for the entire group to come together again as well: at the end of the Fall Semester, participants will give Ignite style presentations. These presentations require you use only 20 slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds, making for a fast-paced and creative way for participants to share their progress. At the end of the Spring Semester, participants will be a part of faculty panels to share what they have learned and to talk about the experience with both current and future eLII participants.

Cover Image: I+D Lab 2015 cereal box activity. All rights reserved. Used with permission.