An interdisciplinary, expanding Community of Practice facilitates the instructional design, implementation, sustainability, and replicability of innovative courses. The NIU Community of Practice began in 2012 with six faculty working together to redesign six courses. Our objective is to maintain as many of the original CoP members as possible and to have new members join each year.
As part of the implementation of NIU's Course Transformation Project, faculty members who participate in the course redesign projects are designated as "CTP Faculty Fellows". Each course redesign faculty is awarded grant to assist them in the development of the redesign.
Faculty fellows meet with CTP support staffin a working breakfast each month. Experienced members of the Community of Practice are encouraged to attend when they can, and some of these members are designated CTP Senior Faculty Fellows. The working meal sessions are organized around certain topics such as "Writing Quality Student Learning Outcomes" and "Designing Valid Assessments".
The monthly meetings are designed for CTP Faculty Fellows to brainstorm, to discuss challenges, to build rapport, and to develop support. Senior faculty fellows demonstrate their courses and share assessment and revision activities. Support staff including Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center instructional consultants, the Office of Assessment Services, and Testing Services attend the meetings as appropriate.
The NIU Community of Practice also gather together for several retreats each year. These events are similar to the working meal sessions but allow for more in-depth training and idea exchange. A forum may also involve panel discussions on course redesign topics.