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Creating a collegial commons

November 18, 2010

This week, four Hunter faculty members discussed how they have shared resources, ideas, and teaching materials with their colleagues, using technology as a medium for disseminating resources and for collaborating.

Trudy Smoke presented the English 120 Instructor Community in Blackboard, which serves as a faculty development resource. Instructors and associated librarians use this online space to share syllabi, ideas, articles, and assignments. Now in its fourth semester of use, the community has steadily gained momentum. Trudy talked about how participation has evolved over time and how the addition of blogs and wikis helped elicit more instructor involvement.

Elke Nicolai described how the German faculty share resources across course sections in the first and second year German language courses. Elke and her colleagues have created a set of resources for each chapter of the textbook, including links to audio files, web-based activities, worksheets, and self-study quizzes that give students feedback on their responses.  These resources are located in a separate Blackboard course, to which all students and instructors associated with the class have access.

Karen Greenberg introduced the English Department "Technology Exploratorium," a new Blackboard community for English faculty. This community features resources specifically geared towards English instructors, including examples of how technology has been used in English and writing intensive classes, links to tools and help resources, and interviews with Hunter faculty discussing how they have integrated technology into their teaching.  Karen discussed the challenges of creating such a site and ideas for making the community more interactive.

Wendy Hayden discussed a variety of ways in which she shares resources with her colleagues.  She participates in the English 120 Instructor Community by contributing resources related to ePortfolio pedagogy and practice.  She has also shared one of her Blackboard course sites by creating a copy, removing student information, and making it available to colleagues as a model course from which they may get ideas about assignments and course site organization.  Wendy also participate in a CUNY-wide group on composition and rhetoric in the CUNY Academic Commons, a site designed to build community and support faculty initiatives throughout CUNY.