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 two 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 2019 Professional Learning Communities

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Dr. Lisa Bosley
Initial Meeting Time: Tuesday Feb 5, 1:00-2:00PM
Meeting Location: Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning (FCT&L)

The PLC will explore the Decoding the Disciplines framework, a program that emerged from a Freshman Learning Project at Indiana University to address bottlenecks to learning. Participants will read selections from several recent books on the Decoding the Disciplines framework and use these to think about ways to bridge the gap between novice and expert reading. 

PLC Learning Outcomes:

  • Learn about the Decoding the Disciplines framework
  • Identify challenges to reading disciplinary texts
  • Analyze mental moves for reading disciplinary texts
  • Learn how to model those mental moves for students to improve their critical reading
  • Plan ways to assess students’ disciplinary reading
  • Consider possible research (SoTL) projects on teaching and learning critical reading

DEEP Course Connections: Metacognition, Critical Reading, Thinking Critically and Creatively,

Learning Threads: Pedagogy, Scholarship

Texts and Resources: Available online

Register for the Teaching Disciplinary Ways of Reading PLC

Peer and Self Analysis

Dr. Cynthia Resor
Initial Meeting Time: February 11, 9-10:00am or Tuesday, February 12, 2-3:00pm 
Meeting Location: Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning (FCT&L)

Looking for ways to improve your teaching? In this PLC, you’ll learn strategies for peer and self-analysis of teaching and how these powerful tools can enhance student learning in the classrooms of both new and experienced professors. Participants will observe and assess their own teaching through video as well as form partnerships to visit the classrooms of others. Both experiences will provide valuable insights into classroom dynamics and the impact of instructor behaviors. Improvement plans will be created and implemented and progress will be assessed through a second cycle of peer and self-assessment. You’ll develop a new awareness of your own teaching practice and the effective classroom strategies of peers.

PLC Learning Outcomes:

  • Define and describe goals of self and peer analysis of teaching as described in published literature
  • Implement self and/or peer analysis of teaching to improve targeted teaching skills
  • Assess (critique) teaching skills of self and/or peers to create plan for improvement
  • Design plan for improved teaching based on self and/or peer assessments and implement plan

DEEP Course Connections: Foundations
Texts and Resources: Available online. Starter resource available here

Register for Peer and Self Analysis PLC 

Planning an Online or Hybrid Course for Significant Student Learning

Dr. Paula Jones 
Meeting Time: Mondays starting Jan 28 - March 25 from 3:30-5:00pm
Meeting Location: Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning (FCT&L)

During this session, participants will have the opportunity to explore options for planning and developing significant learning experiences for their students. To support this effort, we will read/discuss/apply concepts from Dee Fink's book titled Creating Significant Learning Experiences. At the end of the session, our goal is to have one or more modules created in our practice course sites that support significant learning experiences for our students.

PLC Learning Outcomes: 

  • apply Dee Fink's methods of course planning and design
  • discuss and identify key elements needed in their specific course sites to support student learning.
  • develop a module within Blackboard that applies the Fink model and meets quality standards.

DEEP Course Connections: Foundations

Learning Threads: Pedagogy, Technology

Texts and Resources: Available here

Register for Planning an Online or Hybrid Course PLC


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