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Scott Schopieray

Designing Workshops to be MultiModal

3 min read

As we continue through this transformational period of teaching and learning I find myself thinking more and more about how teaching with and across multiple modalities is becoming increasingly important. We have opportunities to transcend space and time, to use multiple modes of content delivery and ways of engaging learners. This is no less important in faculty development work, where our learners are our colleagues who are all leading just as busy and hectic lives as we are.
 
Workshops and tipsheets have long been the backbone of faculty development work and they work well in different scenarios. Workshop attendance on campuses is often sporadic and it can be difficult to anticipate properly the interest level in the work by those who may want to learn more but couldn't/didn't attend. Tipsheets can be extremely helpful but with the regular updates that happen to most educational technologies these days they can often go out of date and become ineffective or irrelevant. Effectiveness has often been measured by attendance or "hits" on a tipsheet page, not by long-term engagement or change in practice.
 
At the heart of what we are doing is a desire to create effective faculty development opportunities that are accessible, and most importantly, used by our colleagues. How do we move from a focus on attendance and headcounts to these more long-term changes in practice and engagement?
 
Designing Workshops to be Multimodal
 
What if we were to design our workshops to be multimodal by nature? What if, by design, the workshops could be just as easily offered synchronously face-to-face as they could asynchronously online? And how would we do this in a way that isn't resource intensive on the part of the workshop leader or other staff?  
 
For the first pass we may think about identifying the natural stopping points in the workshop video as cut points, and then introducing some sort of active opportunity in that spot would be good.
 
potential current model:
5 min intro video
reflect on your goals for attending
10 min intro a topic
do a worksheet or discuss with a partner, etc.
Video
Worksheet
etc.
 
then maybe some linked resources or next step suggestions at the end... perhaps a link to a learning community, mailing list or other sort of campus-level thing that could be of interest
 
 A longer-term goal would bbe figuring out how to encourage faculty to take more of a multimodal approach to planning their workshops... e.g. planning for the asynchronous audience as they plan the synchronous session