I.V.C. Virtual Community

ACTFL - November 2011 Approved Session

I.V.C.: Bridging the gap through virtual class and virtual colleagues


Session Topic Description:

In the current climate of shrinking program resources and reduced teaching positions, it is easy to become isolated within one's institution. The traditional route of conference participation as a moment of information sharing is becoming a less viable option as research funds have often decreased significantly.

Through innovative use of technology, the Italian Studies program at Emory University has not only devised an innovative teaching program of language acquisition through cultural immersion, but is also using virtual meeting strategies to create an effective network of connected colleagues from Italy across the United States bridging the gaps that threaten the collaborative nature of pedagogy research. Stated one participating faculty: "I am closer to my Italian Virtual Class colleagues, whom I have never met, than I am with my French colleagues in the office next door."

In this session, four "virtual" colleagues will discuss how they are effectively collaborating in teaching, advising, professional development, assessing student learning outcomes, researching, and study abroad without additional costs or travel. As a result students in the participating programs benefit from a real community of learners that go beyond their physical classroom while faculty benefit from a pool of colleagues focused on the same issues and engaged in a collective language and culture pedagogy research project.

Content:

Traditional conference participation as a moment of information sharing is becoming less feasible because research funds have decreased significantly. Through effective use of technology, Italian Virtual Class program at Emory University has not only devised an innovative teaching program of language acquisition through intense cultural immersion, but is also using virtual meeting strategies to create an effective network of connected colleagues, from Italy across the U.S., bridging the gaps that threaten the collaborative nature of pedagogy research.

In this session, four "virtual" colleagues will discuss how they regularly collaborate productively in teaching, advising, professional development, assessing student learning outcomes, researching, and study abroad without additional travel costs. Students in participating programs benefit from a real community of learners that go beyond their physical classroom while faculty benefit from a pool of reliable colleagues focused on the same pedagogical issues and engaged in a collective language and culture pedagogy research project.

Methods:

Four colleagues will collectively and individually present for 40 minutes leaving 15-20 minutes for audience Q&A. Presenters will illustrate proposed topics through live classroom and faculty collaboration footage. Audience may interactively experience the method through class simulations. Supporting materials: class plans, tests, syllabi, etc. will be available as handouts.

Proposed topics include:

1. I.V.C.: what is it, how does it work, and why is it so effective?

This segment will briefly utilize video of actual classes effectively illustrating method and use of technology within the classroom. A class simulation with audience participation will follow.

a) I.V.C. Guided Inductive pedagogy: what is it?  Why is it different? What is true guided inductive and what is still the use of past methods? Through a series of examples panelist will describe the new pedagogy and also illustrate what it is and what is not within a class.

b) I.V.C. Method: What is it, how does it work, and why is it so effective? This segment will briefly utilize video of actual classes effectively illustrating method and use of technology within the classroom. A class simulation with audience participation will follow.

2. I.V.C.: how to effectively collaborate on all topics relating to class instruction?

Illustrated from footage of annual workshops and bi-monthly virtual meetings, topics of collaboration include: developing effective syllabi and engaging class plans, tests and grading strategies, developing SLO's, shared opportunities for faculty professional development and pedagogy research, and co-teaching on summer programs in Italy.

c) I.V.C. How to Effectively Collaborate on all topics relating to class instruction? Illustrated from footage of annual workshops and bi-monthly virtual meetings, topics of collaboration include: developing effective syllabi and engaging class plans, tests and grading strategies, developing SLO's, shared opportunities for faculty professional development and pedagogy research, and co-teaching on summer programs in Italy.

d) I.V.C. How "virtual" can we become? Panelists will discuss success and set-backs along the road of developing good practices in the creating of a virtual community of learners and educators. What does the technology future offer? How will virtually collaborating look like in five years?

Outcomes, 3 measurable objectives for those who attend the session:

1. Participants will experience being a student in an Italian Virtual Class

2. Participants will learn about creative opportunities for multi-institution collaboration through clearly illustrated enhanced use of technologies employed.

3. Participants will take away documentation clearly illustrating method's effectiveness, technology used, and the productive benefits this unique collaboration generates.