Case study

California State University Channel Islands

California State University Channel Islands

About California State University Channel Islands

California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) is a four-year, public university in Camarillo, California. Established in 2002, it is the youngest of 23 campuses in the California State University family with strong ties to the local community and its rich history. CSUCI was the first CSU campus to receive the inaugural Seal of Excelencia, a prestigious certification granted by Excelencia in Education, recognizing a very high level of commitment and effort to serve Latinx students successfully by closing equity gaps. With over 60% of students first in their family to go to college, CSUCI is committed to inclusive excellence, promoting high-quality educational opportunities for all students. CSUCI started working with OneHE in May 2020.

What was the challenge?

More than five years ago, CSUCI recognised that faculty development was in dire need of transformation. Faculty development then looked largely the same as it had twenty years before, with individuals attending face-to-face workshops and consultations in attempts to find new strategies and ideas for improving learning.

The Teaching and Learning Innovations Unit (TLi) at CSUCI knew that faculty development hadn’t kept pace, with pedagogy, delivery modes and expectations on educators. They hit on Untethered Faculty Development in response. At its heart, this approach immerses faculty in rich, connected online environments that provide them with the knowledge, skills and support to improve their teaching and student outcomes.

Untethering is fundamentally learner-centered, grounded in the use of online networks to share practices, and does not require faculty to be on campus to learn. It places value on sharing and the relational ties between faculty, as opposed to the number of people in a room at a particular time. And it gives faculty multiple points of access and multiple modes of interaction.

It was as CSUCI was exploring how to implement their strategy that they came across OneHE.

How did OneHE change the game for California State University Channel Islands?

When CSUCI saw OneHE for the first time, they immediately saw its potential to support their untethering strategy. Not only did OneHE offer a bank of expert-led resources available on demand, it had the flexible personalised approach that builds agency and the social learning that provides peer support.

Game Change 1: Instant Agency
It’s hard to commit to hours or weeks to professional learning, and the 20-minute asynchronous design of OneHE courses recognizes and mitigates this challenge for educational professionals. What’s more, the highly applied nature of the courses means faculty can dip in, find relevant content that meets their needs and take away something they can apply in practice straight away. CSUCI found that OneHE was already co-creating bite-sized courses with those experts in learning and teaching who were already informing CSUCI’s own programming. The unit now suggest faculty ‘make a date with OneHE’ and block 20-30 minutes in their calendars once a week or once a month to dedicate some time to developing their practice.
What our faculty have said about OneHE, and what I appreciate too, is they can go in for a very short amount of time and engage for a few minutes… and they can leave with something they can take back.
Game Change 2: Time for Personalized Learning and Support
By promoting agency, OneHE enables faculty to pursue their own personalized learning journey when and how they want. Part of the philosophy of the OneHE community is a recognition that educators are professionals who know what they need and want to develop their teaching their way. Sometimes these educators also benefit from tailored help. CSUCI has now found they can tailor their support to faculty by making use of the expert advice in OneHE and focusing their own capacity to address immediate needs, without having to create content. The unit is now able to hold more and better coaching and development conversations to help educators put ideas into action.
With OneHE we’re able to offer options, conversations, solutions, content for any teaching modality… We’re not talking about technology, we’re really talking about the practice of teaching.
Game Change 3: Becoming a Learning Community
OneHE is changing the way individuals in CSUCI engage as a community of teaching and learning professionals. In Fall semester, the team ran a 5-Day Engagement Challenge drawing on existing content, which dramatically reduced the time the unit spent preparing materials and allowed faculty developers to focus on deepening engagement. Unit colleagues found themselves becoming learners too, able to share in the community of learning with participants within CSUCI and from further afield as global members shared thoughts, experiences and ideas in the social learning elements of courses.
Sometimes getting out of your traditional space and into a different space frees people to think and interact differently… We’re able to think very differently about how we engage with faculty.
Game Change 4: Expanding reach and impact
So much of faculty development has been driven by the economics of scarcity: scarce resources mean faculty development is targeted at those most in need, and only ever reaches a fraction of the total teaching and learning population. OneHE’s model turns that on its head. Now, all educators – whether tenured, adjunct or sessional, or in learning support roles – can have on demand access to resources and support that cover the breadth of needs. A learning path for new teachers provides a structured way to onboard new faculty effectively and at low cost.
The other thing that really excites me is the inclusivity of this approach…
Game Change 5: Tailored support for schools
Centers for Teaching and Learning are partners in the development of faculty within schools that have their own specific challenges, opportunities and strategies for student success. CSUCI now has the capacity to work with Deans to curate learning pathways relevant to their faculty, drawing on content existing in OneHE. This allows the unit to focus less on content development and more on application of good practice, using analytics to target help towards individuals who may need more support and looking at other ways to improve teaching and maximise student outcomes.
What we’re able to do is to curate a pathway that will be useful to the school’s needs… That’s a very different way to think about the work we do.

Where next for your partnership with OneHE?

Dr Lorna Gonzalez, Director of Digital Learning, CSUCI said: “As OneHE continues to evolve, we look forward to being partners and participants on this journey. In the short term, we are excited about OneHE’s developing skills tree as new, highly relevant content (like Dr Courtney Plotts’ Culturally Responsive Teaching course) is added to the platform. Administratively, we look forward to the use of analytics to support the ways we integrate this partnership within the network of our in-house educational development. We also look forward to seeing the impact as faculty across ranks and experience join a global community dedicated to this work.”

We can come to OneHE and it’s always an upbeat, positive place to engage… OneHE models that which we really need in higher education right now.

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