Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice are groups of faculty who share an interest in exploring a common topic related to teaching and learning. There is no prerequisite or expertise required to join or start a community – only a desire to learn and share experience with faculty colleagues. Meetings are informal, and are scheduled by the community’s coordinator.

Some examples of community topics and activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Sharing and researching best practices in teaching online
  • Exploring uses of a specific technology, or set of technologies, across disciplines
  • Discussing classroom civility, diversity, or other topics related to teaching and learning in all class environments

Funding is available through the Title 3 grant for communities on topics related to high impact practices in online and adult learner education. Contact Martin Springborg with questions, or to form a Community of Practice.

Transparent Design in Teaching

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Transparent instruction shows great promise for increasing the confidence, sense of belonging, persistence and success of first-generation, low-income and ethnically underrepresented students.

Transparency in Learning in Teaching was first offered as a topic of CTL Communities of Practice at both DCTC and IHCC. Mary-Ann Winkelmes, author of Transparent Design in Higher Education Teaching and Leadership, then gave a workshop for IHCC and DCTC faculty in January of 2020.

A short, self-paced course in D2L Brightspace now offers a guide to understanding the TILT Framework and how to use it to revise course assignments. In this short course you will be learning to apply transparent methods that focus on three concepts:

  1. Purpose
  2. Task
  3. Criteria

There are a number of suggested methods you can use to build transparency into the purpose, tasks, and criteria in your course learning activities. Most faculty choose to apply just one method per an assignment. (Small changes, big difference!) CTL staff will monitor the course and offer feedback to all participants.

You can self-register for this course and others, such as the 2021 Course Design Institute Archive, from IHCC and DCTC D2L homepages under the Academic menu, Self Registration.

Faculty Teaching Online

Faculty Teaching Online is an informal group that meets weekly at Dakota County Technical College and monthly at Inver Hills Community College to share best practices. Together, we teach and learn skills, shortcuts, workarounds, and new technologies.

Contact DCTC coordinator Martin Springborg, Director of Teaching and Learning, or IHCC coordinator Ellen Lansky, English faculty, for more information about this community.

Learning Community Faculty (Inver Hills)

Faculty who teach in the Learning Community program meet several times over the course of the semester to discuss such topics as integrative design and assessment, experiential learning, and writing-across-the-curriculum. In April, all LCOM faculty attend a retreat to study and apply best practices in integrative learning.

Contact coordinator Lisa DuRose, English faculty, for more information about this community.

Community-Based Learning Community of Practice (Inver Hills)

Faculty who currently use or are interested in adopting community-based learning (CBL) in their course(s) are invited to meet monthly during the academic year to share curriculum and assessment ideas, community connections, and best practices.

Contact coordinators Dr. Julie Luker, Psychology faculty, or Dr. Amy Zsohar, Communications faculty, for more information about this community.

Prison Education Community of Practice

This CoP will meet multiple times a semester and discuss issues relevant to teaching within Minnesota’s Department of Corrections. Potential topics include pedagogical best practices, health and safety, trauma-informed teaching, student reentry needs, facility-specific information, technology access, and other relevant topics to be selected by members.

Contact coordinator Nate Maertens for more information about this community.