Bringing Home the Solution Design Summit: A #SquadGoalsNetwork Reflection from Matt Romanoski

Bringing Home the Solution Design Summit: A #SquadGoalsNetwork Reflection from Matt Romanoski

A reflection by Matthew Romanoski on the power of personal learning networks.

ACCESS – Does regular access to other individuals from other institutions and institutional perspectives challenge your definition of access and what it means? If so, how?

I believe it falls in line with my definition of access. My definition of access is fairly straight forward and that is information and knowledge is made as freely and openly available as possible to all learners. In some cases that means ensuring that information is readable and usable for all learners, but in other cases it means available. My colleagues from around the world have knowledge and information that is applicable in all settings and being able to connect with those colleagues not only enables me to have access to their knowledge, but it allows us opportunities to collaborate and generate new knowledge.

FACULTY SATISFACTION – How has your participation in the PLN benefitted faculty and colleagues at your home institution?

Greatly. One great example is from two years ago when three of my colleagues and I participated in a Solution Design Summit at OLC Innovate. It was such a powerful experience to be able to have a focused session to addressing a challenge on our campus that we brought the model back to the University of Arizona. We now hold a monthly Solution Design Summit that invites colleagues from across the campus to tackle challenges we face in everyday course design. Our challenges are selected by the participants and voted up to determine when we will cover what, so the process is entirely participant driven. It has been a tremendous experience not only in developing solutions to challenges and barriers, but in building relationships with our colleagues across campus.

LEARNING EFFECTIVENESS – When you reflect on your work, how has meeting and learning from individuals from other institutions and institutional perspectives helped you to clarify or re-define what it means for learning to be effective?

The opportunity to interact and hear diverse perspectives on learning strategies and design principles has been vital for me. I don’t know if I have necessarily changed my definition of what effective learning is, but I have certainly re-defined my process in ensuring that learning is effective. There is so much more that I consider and am aware of when designing, because my colleagues are able to open my eyes to different perspectives and contexts that never occurred to me before.

SCALE – Is the PLN scalable and/or replicable by others at other institutions/organizations? If so, how? What challenges do you encounter?

I think that what we brought back to the University of Arizona is definitely scalable at other institutions. The trick is to make a deliberate effort to carve out the time and to select a facilitator that doesn’t have a stake in the outcome. This person can drive the meeting, ensure it stays on track and time and free up group members from the role of facilitator/participant and let them focus solely on the solution development.

STUDENT SATISFACTION – Do you feel that your involvement and/or collaboration with the PLN has helped you create better student experiences at at your institution?

Without a doubt. I have some evidence from instructors who have passed along student feedback that shows this as well as positive reviews from instructors. It is hard to measure what the student experience on the whole is in relation to my specific work, but I can look at my work from three years ago versus my work from today and I definitely see an improvement in what I am building and I believe that my colleagues here have had similar outcomes as a result of our own SDS and their participation with OLC and other collaboration opportunities outside of our institution.

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