Year in Review with a glance forward

Happy New Year! As we embark on a new year with new challenges and opportunities, I step back and reflect on 2016.

Students are the beneficiaries of all we do

Ensuring student success underlies everything the Academic Innovation group does whether helping faculty develop curriculum and use educational technologies, collaborating with faculty on sourcing supplementary content and delivering information literacy classes, or coordinating academic tutors and developing an academic success course.

Academic Innovation regularly contributes to student experiential learning opportunities, providing Co-op, SWAP and practicum student opportunities for Langara students. This year, the Library hosted practicum students from the Library & Information Technology Program, EdTech hired two coop students for the Learning Technologies Support site redesign, and TCDC hosted a Masters of Social Work Student from the University of Calgary.

Encouraging innovation and collaboration among Academic Innovation areas and the rest of the college

In March we launched the Academic Innovation Newsletter (previous issues) and through the year the Library reworked and streamlined the Library website; similarly, did EdTech revised the D2L for Instructors iweb and the Learning Technology Support site for students. TCDC will be redesigning our web presence in 2017.

Academic Innovation members lead or participate actively on initiatives that improve teaching and learning. In 2016, major contributions included:

  • Academic Plan Action Groups – several Academic Innovation faculty lead or actively participate in APAGs. TCDC also co-sponsored a lunch during the APAG mini-conference as part of April PD Days.
  • Academic Student Success – the My Student Success Course (MSSC) is an online course that helps all students make a smooth transition into college by offering them information on essential topics from classroom expectations to identifying plagiarism and recognizing the complexity of communication across diverse cultures. Initially developed as a collaboration between TCDC, the Library, EdTech and IE in summer 2016, TCDC and IE continue to collaborate on revising and expanding the course. The first phase of MSSC included five units and was successfully piloted with biology in the fall semester. More information will be forthcoming shortly.
  • Copyright for Instructors– to facilitate a decentralized system of copyright management and help reduce risk to the institution, instructors must have a base level of copyright knowledge. This online course will help them determine whether a resource can be shared legally for educational purposes.
  • Designing for Student Success – a workshop and cohort seminars encouraging universal design for learning or design instruction offers students of all abilities greater opportunities for success.
  • Digital Institutional Repository – the Library has been soliciting content from across the college and will officially join Arca in February 2017.
  • Makerspace – Academic Innovation faculty actively participate on the Makerspace Steering Committee and work collaboratively with other departments at Langara to help realize a Makerspace at Langara.
  • Open Langara – recognizing and building on the work of individual faculty who are already using open e-textbooks, we hope to support broader acceptance and development of open educational resources at Langara. Academic Innovation established an Open Education Advisory Committee co-led by EdTech and the Library. The Committee has representation from across the college.

Developing a sustainable infrastructure to ensure success for Academic Innovation going forward

Striving to for the right mix of faculty and staff to satisfy the operational needs of Academic Innovation was my top objective for 2016, driven by the growing needs and expectations of faculty and staff as Langara’s programs, services, and student population increase. We introduced roles new to Langara by adding an Intercultural Initiatives Coordinator and an EdTech Advisor (Multimedia Specialist), by changing the title to reflect the role of the Educational Development Coordinator, and by adding an additional Curriculum Development Consultants and Librarian positions. See the current Academic Innovation Directory. I anticipate more changes and additions ahead for 2017.

Space … the final frontier… and a huge challenge at Langara. Space proposals were developed to help accommodate the growth and changing needs of TCDC and EdTech. The Library and Learning Commons also shared proposals on student learning spaces and revisiting spaces in the Library —from removing shelving to upgrading mini-theatres into true presentation practice rooms. We will continue to work closely with Facilities in 2017.

Academic Innovation resources reflect the needs of the college and we provide products, services and support for students directly and indirectly through faculty and staff. By budgeting wisely and actively advocating we are able to provide educational development opportunities and intercultural workshops, sustain our Library resources, and implement teaching technology such as Kaltura.

Strategies, objectives and initiatives map clearly to the Langara Strategic Plan and Academic Plan

Academic Innovation priorities relate to those of the college. Each unit has also developed a strategic or operational plan that maps to the Langara Strategic and Academic plans. For example:

Supporting faculty in the development, review and revitalization of curricula and programs are core services. In 2016 we added a full time Curriculum Development Consultant, Technical Writer, Intercultural Initiatives Coordinator, and Department Assistant. TCDC has been actively building resources and developing procedures to effectively assist you. We also work with departments to help develop and craft meaningful program and course learning outcomes.

In addition to designing and developing to the My Student Success Course, TCDC develops the supports to help faculty and staff promote intercultural understanding. The position of Intercultural Initiatives Coordinator became effective in May 2016 and has been key in meeting this objective. Also in 2016, several faculty underwent train-the-trainer workshops and developed their own workshops specific to Langara. The Intercultural Facilitators Group has already offered 8 sessions and will offer more sessions in 2017.

As part of the Service Review, the Library identified and mapped several key business processes for discussion in the October meeting. During the meeting developed action plans for process improvements. Progress has been made and work continues.

– Patricia Cia, Director, Academic Innovation

Cross posted in Library Central

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