This is my submission for the final assignment of a three day short course from July 12 to 14, 2023. Our assignment is to post on a Padlet but as usual I choose to post publicly on my blog and then link from that padlet.
This was an excellent course led by Katia, Mayte, Luis Gerardo, and Luis Miguel titled “Liderazgo resiliente y colaboración en la docencia” which loosely translated is “Resilient leadership and collaboration in teaching”.
The assignment is give context of an upcoming collaboration, strategies to encourage collaboration, strategies for resilient and positive leadership, and final comments.
This semester I will teach and lead for the third time our TC2007B “Integration of Computer Security in Networks and Software Systems” course. There will be four sections and I will likely teach and lead only two of them. As the professor with the most experience with this course I will also likely be meta-coordinating all four of the sections.
Each section of the course involves (usually) three faculty: one for the mobile development, one for security, and on for networking. In reality, it is likely to be about 8 faculty across the four sections and a total of approximately 120 students. This is a large task of coordinating collaboration.
Based on my work in the past the keys are to encourage effective communication of four channels:
- Student to content: This is mostly ensuring that the course content in Canvas is well laid out and clear. There are some tips to using Canvas effectively with multiple faculty which would require a separate blog post but one important tip I will leave here is that every assignment/page should be labeled with the faculty member responsible for content. This is due to Canvas assuming each course has a single faculty and not making clear which faculty member created/edited content.
- Student to faculty: This again has many sub-tasks but ensuring that every faculty member has a clear channel for making appointments and questions. The (optional for faculty) use of Discord is another excellent tool which I will speak of more below.
- Faculty to faculty: This is an important channel that we often address with pre-course meetings and (sometimes) with regular meetings. I believe a more important strategy is to leave open the channels for communication in both an asynchronous and synchronous modality. Discord is one option for this communication as well as (again optional) Signal/WhatsApp, and the default level of email.
- Student to Student: I believe this is a key channel that many educators miss. We often assume that student’s know how to do this (well) and leave them to their own devices. There are many problems with this from a pedagogical as well as privacy standpoint. Over the years I have chosen to address this directly and this also addresses the three previous channels using differing strategies. I first wrote about using social media channels over nine years ago with Engage Students with Facebook, a year later moving toward a more open pedagogical practice I wrote about Using Twitter with my Students, I still have pending a detailed blog post about my use of Discord but you can search for mentions here of it on the blog. I did record a video about it which you can find below but I definitely need to expand on my use of Discord, it has been a key too for these four channels over the past two years with TC3004B/TC3005B and TC2007B.
I have very good feedback from my colleagues over the past three years on my leadership style while coordinating sections and courses. I believe the keys that create this success (based on my intuition but also more importantly their feedback) are transparency, trust, and open channels of communication. I do plan to continue that process as well as including pre and post sessions individually with each faculty.
My academic assignment was double in the previous calendar year and I hope to reduce it this year to a regular load. We actually have a mandate at the national level to reduce our extra assignments and get us back to a more normal teaching assignment load. My goals that I want to achieve with the lessening of academic assignments is to spend more time documenting my practice in both blog and video format. Who knows, I may even start podcasting again.
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Currently listening via Audible to “Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll” written and read by Nancy Wilson and Ann Wilson, consuming many podcast episodes of Drive by Petter Attia, MD, reading “Blackfoot Crossing” by Norma Sluman.
Nothing recently but a few ideas in planning, I am always open to recommendations.