In my role in the Office of Learning, one of my big projects for May and June was coordinating the creation of online, asynchronous modules for New Faculty Orientation. Together with 15 colleagues, we put together 28 lessons on the essential ideas and values that underpin teaching and learning at ISB. From curriculum, assessment, service learning, and supporting all learners, to mission, vision, and so much more–these modules took one very full week’s worth of orientation content and let new faculty complete it at their own pace.
Our driving hope in creating this orientation was that, in a summer of so much uncertainty and ambiguity, we would be able to add just a little more clarity into people’s lives: our new faculty would come on board with a very clear idea of ISB’s core values, ideas, procedures, systems, and tech tools.
One major point of reflection I have after reading their final reflections is this: it was too much. It’s notoriously difficult for teachers to estimate how long their online lessons will take students to complete. Knowing this, I asked my 15 colleagues to put an estimated time on each module of 40 minutes or less. However, some modules, that time estimate was a pretty close approximation of the time required. For other modules, it took several hours to complete rather than 40 minutes. So…just like we ask teachers to recalibrate their expectations of how much can be accomplished during online learning, we coordinators needed to do the same.
Below is my graphic for planning just one of the modules, Standards-based Grading and Reporting. For this module, I created a 6 minute screencast about the 4 major values underpinning our grading and reporting, and 4 key practices that flow from those values. Then I asked new teachers to reflect back on their own experiences with grading and reporting in their previous schools, and to connect those experiences to our values. Full disclosure, I created this graphic after the module was already done–hence the past tense!