Last Friday we launched the IU Digital Gardener Faculty Fellow program and we had initially planned for the kick-off to be an in-person event, focused on skill development, curriculum building, and fostering community. But due to the Corona-impacted, ever-changing landscape of higher education, we had to shift (near last minute) to a virtual event.
Rather than simply move our planned programming online, we decided to revise our plans so as to provide an experience and engagement that worked best with an online delivery. To this end, we first decided to use the platform SpatialChat, as not only did it allow for virtual delivery elements (audio/visual conversation, chat, screen share, etc.), but it relatively seamlessly created fluid opportunities for full-group presentation and, more importantly, for small group work/conversation. Second, we decided to focus on easy-to-use, low-stakes technologies so as to foster a sense of creative confidence among participants. Our inaugural cohort of 35 faculty range in skill level, so we needed to set a baseline. Here we used the newly rebranded Adobe Creative Cloud Express suite, specifically Express Post and Express Page, coupled with Adobe Stock (IU is a Creative Campus Pro account) to ask faculty to not only think reflectively about their own perspectives on digital literacy, but to identify how they might integrate the tools into their own curriculum.
Finally, we asked them to take on a curriculum builder challenge and work in groups to share what they had created, talk about the process and expectations, etc. The entire day was intended to create a series of peer-to-peer engagements, where participants had a set of shared experiences, worked through a series of tools and technologies, and tried to apply those 4 elements (SpatialChat, Express Post, Express Page, and Adobe Stock) to their own courses/situations. While it wasn’t the full engagement we had initially planned for the in-person even (and we did run into a few technical bumps along the road), I think the overall kick-off was a success. To that end, the guides for each of the three parts of the day can be found below: