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Title: Developing a virtual professional learning community with online faculty
Abstract: Adjunct faculty are a critical component to student success in online learning. Working remotely can generate feelings of isolation, fatigue, and struggles with communication. Research around professional learning communities (PLCs) indicates that there is an opportunity to bridge the challenges, enhance retention, and student learning. PLCs provide an opportunity to build a collective capacity in instructors with the focus on teaching and learning. The nuances of navigating the development of PLCs is complex with a fully online platform. Therefore, it is essential to utilize the literature to generate key tenets of PLCs that can be translated into an organized plan to generate energy, focus, and enthusiasm around a virtual adjunct community. Using internal research collected over several years, the researchers have found key considerations to enhance the professional development, support, and overall collaborative culture for adjunct faculty. These key ideas include communication and connection. The researchers have developed specific strategies and ideas to enhance morale, generate authentic community experiences, and provide relevant and practical professional learning opportunities. Intentional efforts to enhance communication and collaboration can make a difference in the overall retention of staff and students and generate vibrant PLCs.
Keywords: online, professional learning community.
You can learn more about the conference proceeding HERE.
Belcher, A., Robinson, J., Olson-Stewart, K., Rief, A. (June, 2020). Developing a virtual professional
learning community with online faculty. In EDULEARN20 - London (Ed.), EDULEARN20
Proceedings. IATED doi: doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2020
Dr. Jennifer Robinson: Jen is a Core Faculty in the Bachelor’s of Education Studies, and also teaches in the MA and Ph.D. programs. Before stepping into full-time higher education, she was a K-12 English as a second language and regular education teacher. Her Ph.D. in Education (Literacy and English as a Second Language) is from Washington State University.
Dr. Alan Belcher: Alan is an experienced educator, administrator, and consultant, having worked with students and schools at all different levels and in many states and countries. He earned a BA in education, the MA in school administration, and the MS in computer systems from Marshall University. He also earned the PhD in education from Capella University.
Dr. Allison Rief: Allison is currently a Lead Faculty member for the AAECE, BAECE, and BAECEA programs within the Department of Education and Liberal Arts. Before working within higher education, she was a prekindergarten, second, and third grade teacher. She earned her BA in Literatures in English from UC San Diego, her MA in Education from UC Los Angeles, and her EdD from the University of Southern California.
Dr. Kelly Stewart: Kelly: is an Assistant Professor and Faculty Lead for the Ph.D. in Education program in the Department of Education and Liberal Arts within the College of Arts and Sciences at Ashford University. Dr. Stewart started her career in education as a middle school teacher in South Bend, Indiana. Upon moving to Arizona, Kelly was hired as a Curriculum and Technology Specialist and worked for another fifteen years as a staff developer, coach, adjunct professor, and district administrator.