Recently we* launched something that I’m quite proud of…our new iTeach blog. Why proud? One of the things that we – and pretty much every other institution in Australia – do quite well is put the responsibility for learning and teaching in the hands of a few. At least when it comes to resource development. If someone hasn’t recently been tasked with collating examples of good teaching practice and tapped you on the shoulder to share your work, it doesn’t matter if you’re doing amazing things; the chances are that few will come to know…and learn from…your successes. Yet one of the most common comments I hear is, ‘Can you show me a really good example of…(add your favourite technology, strategy etc)? I just want to see what it looks like.’
Everyone is hungry to learn from each other, to stand each others’ shoulders…and let’s be honest, to show off their own successes that come from lots of hard work and passion for their teaching.
We’re a learning organisation. We are all involved to some degree in professional learning, whether it be passing on your teaching experience or mentoring a colleague, being allocated to a small group to assist sessional staff, performing a peer review, being part of a learning and teaching committee or community of practice, or running workshops / creating resources for others. We all have something to share that will benefit others.
Enter the iTeach blog
It’s pretty easy to set up a blog, but this blog is a little different. Anyone can create a post on iTeach by simply clicking on the Write! page. No waiting for that tap on the shoulder. No need for user access. No middle man. You can type your post straight into a text editor, add an image, and even write an (unpublished) note to the editors, if you need help with adding other media or wanted to add some further information. When you publish, your post will go into the workflow and we* immediately receive an email to let us know a new post is there. We’ll check the categories and tags, follow up on any questions for the editors, and then publish. It’s that easy.
So why is this important?
Because too often we don’t learn from the mistakes of others, don’t build on their successes. Too often learning about a strategy that really works depends on whether or not you’re in the same hallway or whether you’re working with an ED who has experience in that strategy. Too often the learning community doesn’t get to shape the conversation around learning and teaching.
The site is quite new. You may find the posts perfect for your needs, or not meeting your needs. You might say, ‘This isn’t the kind of thing I want to share’. Whether it’s working for you already or not, the thing to remember is, this is a community site and will be shaped by the community. And YOU are part of that community. So I strongly encourage you to post. Help the site evolve. Value and respect the posts of your colleagues and what they have to share. And if you have suggestions to make it even better, contact either Warwick or myself. We’re the FoBJBS representatives on the Working Party that oversees the blog. And we listen.
* When I say ‘we’, I mean the Cross Institutional Wiki Working Party. We’re a group of ten people from across CSU – representing all Faculties as well as DLT – who are committed to grassroots community spaces for informal professional learning. Find out what we are doing, and about some of the subgroups that are working with us, here.