What Did We Learn From Can•Innovate?

Through the leadership of California Virtual Campus-Online Education Initiative (CVC-OEI), all 114 California Community Colleges have adopted Canvas as their learning management system. Our systemwide move to Canvas enables our colleges to leverage the economy of scale and utilize resources more effectively. Moreover, part-time faculty who teach at more than one campus can now focus more of their time on teaching, as opposed to designing courses in multiple platforms. And, most importantly, our students who learn at more than one college will have a more consistent experience, which is particularly important as CVC-OEI expands access to online courses through cross-campus enrollment. Furthermore, our systemwide adoption of Canvas unites all of us — CCC faculty, staff, administrators, and students — to work towards the common goal of learning how to best utilize Canvas to support the needs of our diverse student population.

Last year, in pursuit of this goal, American River College in the Los Rios District in partnership with CVC-OEI and Instructure, hosted Can•Innovate 2017, a conference for faculty, staff, and administrators who use Canvas. Roughly 237 CCC educators attended that event.  This year, on October 26, 2018, @ONE (The Online Network of Educators), which serves as the professional development arm of CVC-OEI, hosted the 2nd annual Can•Innovate —this time in the form of a free online conference. 

Why a Free, Online Conference?

The decision to design Can•Innovate with a virtual program was made to support the needs of our CCC educators, comprised of 60,000+ faculty (70% of which are part-time) and approximately 30,000 classified staff and administrators. Leveraging what we learned from CCC Digital Learning Day, we designed the day to ensure everyone with a desire to learn and grow had the opportunity to do so.

In partnership with an advisory committee of faculty and staff, a robust online program was designed and delivered entirely through ConferZoom. The final program consisted of 19 sessions presented by 29 speakers including CCC faculty, staff, and administrators; national thought leaders; representatives from CVC-OEI ecosysystem, Instructure, and CCC supported tools; as well as a student keynote speaker, Natalie Miller. Attendees were provided 3 options to participate:  

  1. Online — from one’s own device
  2. On-Campus — from one of the 32 group viewing rooms across the system
  3. On-Campus — from one of the 5 regional hubs

The Outcomes

Can•Innovate 2018 was well-attended by faculty, staff, and administrators from across the state. Some highlights of the attendee data are:

  • 5,870 advanced online session registrations (duplicated headcount)
  • 3,285 session attendances (duplicated headcount)
  • 1,131 people attended.
  • The large majority of attendees (87%, n=982) participated online from their own device, while 7% (n=76) attended from an on-campus group viewing room, and 6% (n=41) attended on-campus at a regional hub.
  • Attendees represented 108 out of 114 California Community Colleges (94.7%).
  • The event attracted a diverse group comprised of: 76% faculty — split by full-time 42% (467) and part-time 34% (374) 12% classified (127) 7% administrators (78) 1% students (7) 4% other (46).

A 4.4 Star Event

A total of 270 attendees (40%) responded to the evaluation survey, providing us with rich user experience data from which we plan to learn and improve. Most of the evaluation responses (226 or 83%) came from those who attended online. The large majority (76%) online attendees indicated that convenience was the main reason they chose to attend from their own device, followed by “it is how I learn best” (6%), I live too far from a hub (6.6%) and my campus did not coordinate an on-campus viewing room (5%). Overall, attendees (all types) were very satisfied with their experience. Attendees gave their overall Can•Innovate experience an average 4.4 out of 5 stars. The distribution is shown below (all attendee types included):

★ ★ ★ ★ – 155

★ ★ ★ – 85

★★ ★ – 24

★ ★- 4

★- 3

Online attendees were slightly more satisfied (average 4.46 stars, n=226) than group viewing room attendees (4.28 stars, n=38) and hub attendees (3.85 stars, n=7). The data collected from the open-ended questions support high satisfaction levels. Those who attended online cited flexibility, the ability to learn without traveling, and efficiency as the top drivers of satisfaction. It is worth noting that these similar to the reasons students site for taking online classes.

Participants who attended from on-campus sited an appreciation for being able to converse with colleagues during and between the sessions, and on-site subject matter experts expand upon the presentations. Below are excerpts from the open-ended comments:

What did you like best about attending online?

  • It is the most convenient way for the PT faculty to be included in P-Dev., so thank you for offering it online.
  • I was paying full attention unlike face to face where you can fall asleep.asy to schedule and sign up for the classes that fit time schedule.
  • While there were many in attendance the facilitators and moderators made the experience feel very singular and personal.
  • I loved the fact that online was not just an afterthought; it was the point of the conference!
  • I like learning and as an online teacher/ remote worker having a sense of community meets a need.  
  • I did not have to commute.
  • I liked the on-demand expectation of online events and seeing questions by my peers  answered in real time during the event!
  • I didn’t have to miss work, I just picked sessions to fit in my schedule.
  • No waste of time / money / carbon traveling to a conference (or even my campus), and the efficiency of the Zoom presentations that were all business and well moderated
  • Such dynamic presenters with innovative ideas to spark our imagination.

What did you like best about attending in a group viewing room?

  • We added other sessions and an open lab. Faculty liked being able to choose. We also held our event in 3 classrooms with glass windows that faced a center gathering space. It helped to be able to look in each room to see what was going on, how many were in there, etc. We could see if the webinar had started even from outside the room.
  • Having the opportunity to discuss the material with my peers as we watched it.
  • Getting out of my office! Camaraderie, opportunity to explain/assist things with others, and pizza.
  • Networking with my school’s Canvas admin and her input during the different presentations.
  • We were able to use the 15 minute breaks to review the session content for participants, clarify, answer questions, and describe how we can help with whatever was being presented.
  • I think our participants really enjoyed being able to participate in a communal setting and be able to ask questions.

What did you like best about attending at a regional hub?

  • Well organized.
  • Being at home and in good hands for hand-on training Being with my colleagues.
  • Chance to connect with others.

What did we learn?

For all the talk about student equity, it’s also really nice to have opportunities for Teacher/Instructor equity as well. Online Conferences without exorbitant fees or limiting travel arrangements are the way to go – Thank you! — Elli England (@Toxicgrin)

Free, online conferences are a new form of professional development provided by CVC-OEI/@ONE. With each event, we seek to learn and improve. Can•Innovate has reconfirmed the value of untethering professional development from a time and place. By granting faculty, staff, and administrators the opportunity to learn and grow without needing to travel, more people are served and more students will benefit. Here are some of our key takeaways:

  • Most of those who responded to the survey indicated that they learned about Can•Innovate from a campus announcement, which stresses the importance of building relationships with those who coordinate professional development across the system.
  • Just over a quarter (27%) of respondents indicated this was their first time participating in an @ONE professional development offering, reinforcing the widespread impact of untethered professional development.
  • Nearly half (46.5%) of respondents said they received flex credit for attending the sessions, which was a preference we identified from CCC Digital Learning Day and the reason we required registration at the session level for Can•Innovate. This granular registration process creates more steps for users and more links to manage, but there was no evidence in the conference evaluation data that suggested this process was problematic.
  • Use of a Twitter hashtag (#CanInnovate18) proved to be an effective way to enable connections across campus. More than 700 Tweets were sent with the hashtag, promoting the sharing of feedback and resources, photos of viewing experiences, and reflections about the day. We hope more of you join in on Twitter in the future (follow us @ONEforTraining).
  • Sharing across campuses opens eyes to new ways of thinking and breaks down silos. Professional development must utilize technology to deliver content and connect people. Professional networks are central to professional growth.
  • Professional development must be designed with equity in mind. Attending traditional conferences is a great way to learn and connect with peers, but proportionately few educators in our system have the resources to fund conferences. Part-time faculty play a critical role in supporting the needs of our students and are often unable to attend on-campus professional development events.
  • This untethered professional development model lightens the load of those on campus who coordinate professional development while providing attendees with options to participate in a way that suits them best.

If you have any thoughts about our Can•Innovate findings, we’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or reach out to me directly.

… and mark your calendar for our next untethered event, CCC Digital Learning Day, which will be held on Thursday, February 28, 2019! Let us know what topics you’d like to learn about by contributing in our social upvoting forum, which is open until November 30!

Posted in Articles, CanInnovate.

Michelle (@brocansky) is Faculty Mentor, Online Teaching & Learning for @ONE and CVC-OEI and author of Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies. Michelle began teaching in the CCC system in 1999, has been teaching online since 2003, and has been an online educational developer since 2009. She also teaches the History of Photography online for Mt. San Jacinto College. Learn more about Michelle at brocansky.com or connect with her on Twitter @brocansky.

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