It Takes a Village: A #SquadGoalsNetwork Reflection from Cathy Russell

It Takes a Village: A #SquadGoalsNetwork Reflection from Cathy Russell

A reflection by Cathy Russell 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?

Yes.  It takes a village is often a reference made to raising children, but I think that the same can be said for course design.  If you combine the ideas of many people from different places then you will end up with the best result.  Accessing those people is the difficult part.  Without the opportunity to see other people from different institutions, it is more difficult to access their thoughts and find out what they are doing.

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

Being able to bring back ideas is a large benefit for the faculty that I work with.  Having a large quiver of ideas is important to be able to help my faculty find the right plan for them.

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?

When we are limited to our co-workers, we begin to form a specific way of doing things.  Expanding the network and having access to other institutional persepctives allows for us to see different ways to do things.  For instance, I have been working through how to use storytelling in a course and specifically the Hero’s Journey.  As I have continued to talk to others about what they are doing, I have been able to see different ways of incorporating storytelling into course design.  One institution took the perspective of creating a fishing theme in the course to take the students on a journey in their course about fishing and wildlife.  Another institution was creating compelling stories of how businesses were starting to show to their business students.  Both of these great ideas were using a different approach than I currently was and it was good to see different perspectives on the same topic.

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

Personal learning networks can be difficult for some institutions where professional development dollars are scarce.  I feel like there should be a way to leverage online networks as well to share ideas with others.

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?

I do feel that students have a better experience as well.  Being able to hear about rich learning environments inspires me to go back and help faculty create their own rich learning environments.

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