Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)

What is a PLC?

A Professional Learning Community (PLC) is a cross-disciplinary group of 8-12 faculty and academic staff who engage in a collaborative semester-long program to ask questions about innovations in teaching and learning, explore teaching innovations, and generate products of value to the campus community (e.g., surveys, policy papers, teaching tools, presentations, and manuscripts).

A PLC usually consists of several basic traits:

  • Cross-disciplinary (often combining faculty and professional staff)

  • 8-12 members (plus 1-2 facilitators)

  • Active, collaborative learning experience

  • Regular structured scholarly activities and discussions

  • Semester-length (though some run one year)

  • Often creates an end product (e.g., scholarship, conference, presentation, syllabus revision).

Spring 2020 Professional Learning Communities

Critical Reading and the "Digital Demand"

Facilitator: Dr. Lisa Bosley
Meeting days & times will be determined by participants
Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning (FCT&L - Crabbe Library 318)

Technology is changing reading practices, our students’ and our own, in fundamental ways. As instructors of digital natives, how can we adapt expectations for reading in our courses to meet “the digital demand”? In what ways might our purposes for assigning reading shift? How might our expectations for course reading change? Should the role of reading for learning in our courses change? Is it possible to make long-form reading relevant in a Google world? In this PLC, participants will explore these questions and ask, as cognitive neuroscientist Maryanne Wolf does, how “to preserve the deepest forms of reading from the past, while developing the cognitive skills necessary for this century’s next generation…”

After completing this PLC, participants will:
•Know about research related to cognitive changes in the digital reading brain (i.e. Is Google making us stupid? Or smarter?)
•Understand challenges and opportunities for helping students develop as critical readers of digital and print texts
•Understand the concept of bi-literacy
•Explore online tools for collaborative annotation
•Explore functions of e-textbooks that promote critical reading
•Adapt or create a reading assignment to better align with digital natives’ strengths and interests

Texts will be provided and will include excerpts from:
-Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century, Maryanne Wolf. Oxford University Press 2016.
-Reader Come Home: The Reading Brain in the Digital World, Maryanne Wolf. Harper/Collins, 2018.
-Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, by Naomi Baron. Oxford University Press, 2015.

Participants will also choose from a variety of scholarly and popular articles on the topic.

Click here to register for Critical Reading and the "Digital Demand."


From Data to Publication

Facilitator: Dr. Sara Incera
Meets every other Tuesday from 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Starting January 21, 2020
Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning (FCT&L - Crabbe Library 318)

Note: Participants should install R & R Studio for the analyses.

Do you have publishable data that is becoming more and more irrelevant every semester that you do not write it up? Do you have trouble finding the time to sit and write those pesky results? If so, this PLC is for you! We will have biweekly meetings in which we will cover the full process from data to publication. Participating in this PLC you will find a good journal, clean your data, run the analyses, create relevant figures and/or tables, interpret the results, write a draft, and submit for publication. All while being supported by an interdisciplinary group of faculty who are struggling through this process just like you are.

Learning Outcomes:
Module 1: Choosing a journal
To evaluate different journals in order to select the appropriate one.

Module 2: Finding an example results section
To analyze different results sections to understand what to report.

Module 3: Cleaning/Organizing the data
To recognize different data structures and choose the appropriate one.

Module 4: Checking Assumptions
To evaluate the data to determine what analysis is most appropriate.

Module 5: Visualizing data / Creating figures
To create figures and/or tables that best represent the findings.

Module 6: Running / Interpreting the analyses
To understand the results and their implications.

Module 7: Share a final draft with the group
To create a cohesive results section with all relevant information.

Module 8: Submit for publication
To create a journal submission for the final draft of the manuscript.

Click here to register for "From Data to Publication."


Ungrading: Tapping into Students’ Intrinsic Motivations

Facilitators: Dr. Travis Martin & Dr. Matthew Winslow
Meets every other Wednesday from 1:25pm – 2:15pm
Starting January 22, 2020
Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning (FCT&L - Crabbe Library 318)

Ungrading, within the context of this Professional Learning Community, will refer to small changes in teaching that shift the focus away from grades. Research has shown that grades limit creativity, discourage marginalized students, and undermine evaluative feedback. Students internalize grades, comparing themselves to others, putting extrinsic rewards above their interests and needs. But how can ungraded approaches and gradeless classrooms be used practically? Participants will answer this question in a workshop setting. They will be new to the approach and perhaps even skeptical. Some will make small changes. Others may shift to a gradeless classroom entirely.

To enhance our learning, we will discuss short articles, examples of ungrading, and read selections from Susan D. Blum’s “I Love Learning; I Hate School”: An Anthropology of College (2016). We will also hear from EKU faculty who are putting these theories into practice. During each meeting we will collaborate on syllabi, seek feedback on individual assignments, and develop strategies that emphasize learning, progress, and growth.

Participants in this PLC will:
-Design syllabi, assignments, interventions, and pedagogical approaches in a workshop setting 
-Differentiate between graded and ungraded approaches with regard to their emphasis on learning, progress, and growth 
-Apply best practices in ungrading developed by EKU faculty colleagues

Click here to register for "Ungrading:  Tapping Into Students' Intrinsic Motivation."