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).

Fall 2020 Professional Learning Communities*

*The Noel Studio/Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning are monitoring safety requirements related to COVID-19 as we plan for the fall 2020 semester. In accordance with safety guidelines, on-ground registration will be limited to capacities determined safe to accommodate national, state, and campus social distancing practices (10-12 participants for the FCT&L classroom).
On-ground programming will be accompanied by opportunities to participate remotely using available audio/visual platforms such as Zoom. Instructions for access will be provided directly to participants in advance. Please contact us at with any questions or for more information.

Critical Reading and the "Digital Demand"

Facilitator: Dr. Lisa Bosley
Format: Meeting times to be determined by participants

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 transform? Is it possible to make long-form reading relevant in a Google world? In this PLC, participants will explore these questions and ask, with cognitive neuroscientist Maryanne Wolf, 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 concepts of bi-literacy
• Explore online tools for collaborative annotation
• Explore functions of e-textbooks that promote critical reading
• Adapt a reading assignment to better align with students' strengths and interests

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

Discipline Specific Critical Reading (for College of Health Sciences)

Facilitators: Dr. Leslie Hardman & Dr. Cindy Hayden
Format: 6-week Asynchronous Course, beginning the 3rd week of the fall semester.

The College of Health Sciences PLC for Critical Reading is intended for new, tenure-track, and tenured faculty who are interested in improving students’ critical reading skills. Participants will identify and share disciplinary critical reading strategies, develop different metacognitive routines for students to make thinking visible, and improve their ability to assist students in building content knowledge in the health professions.

The emphasis of this 6-week online course will be on building a foundation for students to engage in discipline specific reading practices by designing an implementation plan for a course you teach. A similar departmental PLC for Critical Reading has yielded several Scholarship of Teaching and Learning research projects presented at EKU’s Pedagogicon and national discipline and teaching conferences.

After completing this PLC, participants will be able to:
1. Explain why students do not read before class and develop solutions to address this behavior
2. Share specific health sciences critical reading strategies and demonstrate critical reading of health sciences professional textbooks and articles to students
3. Appraise students’ critical reading skills and design assignments so students will be able to interpret evidence-based research in their health care profession

Click here to register for "Discipline Specific Critical Reading (for College of Health Sciences).

From Idea to Data

Facilitator: Dr. Sara Incera
Format: Meets September 1st, September 8th, and then every other Tuesday from 2:30pm - 3:30pm.
Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning (FCT&L - Crabbe Library 318)

Do you have a research idea but never find the time to make it happen? Do you want to make your research process more efficient? Do you want to find new ways to involve students in your research? If so, this PLC is for you!

We will have biweekly meetings in which we will cover the full process from idea to data. Participating in this PLC you will redefine your idea, apply for IRB approval, preregister your predictions, work with research assistants, learn about new ways to gather data (e.g., Qualtrics), design an analysis plan, collect data, and clean your data. All while being supported by an interdisciplinary group of faculty who are excited about this process just like you are!

In this PLC you will...

1) Define your idea.
Describe the dependent and independent variables of your study.

2) Apply for IRB approval.
Construct the IRB application for your projects and submit it.

3) Preregister your predictions (OSF).
Organize your ideas in testable predictions.

4) Work with research assistants.
Construct a detailed list of tasks your RAs can complete.

5) Measures: Qualtrics / Instruments.
Describe the surveys/instruments you will use to gather your data.

6) Design an analysis plan.
Understand the analysis plan that will be used to analyze your data.

7) Collect data.
Develop a data collection plan so you can test your ideas.

8) Clean data.
Create a final dataset with the clean version of your data.

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

Integrating Transparency in Learning & Teaching (TILT) to Promote Student Engagement in the Classroom

Facilitators: Dr. Shirley O'Brien, Dr. Russell Carpenter, & Dr. Tim Forde
Format: To be determined
Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning (FCT&L - Crabbe Library 318)

Are you interested in improving student learning in the classroom? Have you considered small changes in your teaching that can enhance how and why students learn across all learners? In this Professional Learning Community (PLC), facilitators and participants will explore transparency in learning and teaching (TILT), discuss strategies for integrating and ensuring learning through the use of these concepts in the classroom, and facilitate discussion focused on the value and long-term impact of TILT for EKU students (and faculty). Participants will receive a packet of information focused on TILT and resources to use in their classrooms. Through this PLC, participants will apply TILT strategies to specific course materials--syllabi, assignments, rubrics, or other resources--and have the opportunity to draft or revise course documents with support from facilitators, along with compiling resources for use in their own instruction.

After completing this PLC, participants will:

Evaluate TILT approaches that best reach student learners;
Explore TILT strategies to engage diverse learners;
Use TILT approaches that enhance teaching and learning for specific student populations; and
Integrate TILT approaches into syllabi, assignments, rubrics, and other teaching and learning resources.

Reading: Select readings from Winkelmes et al. provided by facilitators

Click here to register for "TILT (Transparency in Learning & Teaching)." 

Open Educational Resources

Facilitator: Kelly Smith
Format: 5 bi-weekly sessions, running from late September through early November.  Meeting times TBD by participants.
Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning (FCT&L - Crabbe Library 318)

Through common readings, group discussion, and peer-to-peer presentations from faculty who have adopted or created OERs for their classrooms, attendees will learn how to identify, evaluate, and incorporate quality Open Educational Resources in their courses. Priority will be given to Open Textbook Grant awardees, but if space is available, other faculty are welcome to participate as well.

1. In this PLC, faculty will learn how and why to incorporate Open Educational Resources (OERs) into courses and will apply this knowledge to their own disciplinary context.

2. In this PLC, faculty will evaluate existing OERs for potential adoption or adaption.

3. The outcome of this PLC will be a re-designed syllabus for at least one course that utilizes OERs and library resources so that the faculty member can offer a zero cost class for students.

Click here to register for "Open Educational Resources."