Connecting & Collaborating with the Digital Pedagogy Lab
“Critical Digital Pedagogy demands that open and networked educational environments must not be merely repositories of content. They must be platforms for engaging students and teachers as full agents of their own learning.” ~ Jesse Stommel, “Critical Digital Pedagogy: a Definition”
Critical digital pedagogy reflects a renaissance in teaching and learning that is actively underway and embraces the rich diversity of teachers, learners, and tools co-mingling in the digital era. It is a community of practice and inquiry. It is a pedagogy that cultivates a culture of experimentation, social justice, and impact. This defines the newly launched ThinqStudio initiative at the University of Colorado Denver, an official partner of Digital Pedagogy Lab (DPL) and sponsor of the Digital Pedagogy Lab 2017 Institutes at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, British Columbia, and at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia.
ThinqStudio will spur the ethos and praxis of critical digital pedagogy in the heart of Colorado and across the CU Denver campus. Our engagement and inspiration with the digital pedagogy community has spread to campus leadership, who have agreed to invest in bringing this ethos to our campus during the 2017-2018 academic year. We thank CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell for her vision and faith in advancing the scholarship of teaching and learning.
To that end, ThinqStudio has established a fellowship program wherein select faculty will open a campus dialog while exploring and promoting their own digital pedagogy. Their practice and reflection will be open and transparent to the campus community over the arc of this year. This summer, faculty fellows will be joining a cohort of CU Denver colleagues at each of the two international sites of the Digital Pedagogy Lab events as we kickoff our 2017-18 activities. Nine faculty are headed to Vancouver and ten to Virginia – with a collective charge of reconnaissance and partnership. We’d like critical digital pedagogy to take root on our campus so that it inspires our university just as it has inspired us individually.
Why ThinqStudio? The enterprise of modern education can divert our focus to matters of enrollment management, analytics, course production, systems, and market share. There are notions of industrialized education at work, and these distract us from our core purpose of effective teaching and learning. ThinqStudio reflects an intentionality of experimentation and balance. It focuses on the art of pedagogy and the scholarship of teaching and learning. To draw from our Digital Pedagogy Lab colleagues, it is “critical” because that is its core value and it assumes a skeptic’s view – critiquing impact, methods, and praxis. It is “digital” because it interrogates the changing mechanisms of our work. It is both present and future tense. In short, ThinqStudio is the space for critical digital pedagogy at CU Denver.
With ThinqStudio’s launch, we have initiated multiple partnerships and activities for the 2017-18 academic year, including:
- Partnership with the Digital Pedagogy Lab & Institute, to include summer conferences, strategic planning, and subsequent cross-over events.
- Participation in CU Denver’s Center for Faculty Development Books@Work book club, with the focal text Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science, edited by Rajiv Jhangiani (a facilitator of the Open Pedagogy and Social Justice track, with Robin DeRosa, at Digital Pedagogy Lab Vancouver) and Robert Biswas-Diener (throughout October, 2017)
- Participation in CU Denver’s Center for Faculty Development Spotlight on Teaching event, with invited participation from ThinqStudio faculty fellows (October 25, 2017)
- Co-facilitation of Metropolitan State University’s Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium, including a keynote address by ThinqStudio Co-PI Remi Kalir (October 13, 2017)
- A professional learning event with Sean Michael Morris, Director of Digital Pedagogy Lab, and Jesse Stommel, Executive Director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies at University of Mary Washington, planned for Spring, 2018.
Teaching constitutes the core of the CU Denver mission. Likewise for ThinqStudio. Together and in partnerships throughout the community, we seek to advance Chancellor Horrell’s priorities for our students. In particular, we believe that our efforts will “elevate student success,” her top priority. We also seek to “advance excellence in teaching, research and creative work.” Like the Chancellor, we also believe that to serve our students, colleagues, and the communities beyond the university, we must strive to “create a more cohesive, collaborative and inclusive CU Denver culture.” We eagerly anticipate a fruitful year ahead working with each other and inviting the rest of the university to join us in building insights and tools to serve our students and our communities.