As the semester sprints feverishly towards its end, we in Instructional Technology wanted to take a moment to reflect back upon our overall experience with our colleagues in the Critical Instructional Design Reading Group. We walked away with new knowledge and potential strategies for teaching and learning in the fall, and we are excited to share them with you.
Reading Group Meeting #3 – March 31, 2023
Reading group participants returned from spring break ready to dive back into critical instructional design. Our faculty co-facilitator Karen Pezzetti led us in a “silent discussion” of “Towards a Critical Instructional Design Framework” by Katrina Wehr. Each of us wrote a discussion question on a sheet of paper (or in a Google doc, for our online participants) and then passed it to the person on our left who then had a few minutes to write a response. This continued until everyone had three responses to their initial question.
This exercise was so well received that it took up the entirety of our meeting! After reading through the written responses on each of our papers, the group had a full discussion about recurring themes and the format of the exercise. Some of our discussion points included:
- The flexibility of this exercise in a hybrid space. Our virtual participants were partnered with some in-person colleagues who had their computers so that they could complete this exercise in a Google doc using colored text to identify who was typing each answer.
- The different experiences across modalities. Those who were writing on paper had more time to intentionally craft their responses while our digital participants had the capacity to produce more text and to edit as they went.
- The difficulties and value in providing students with substantive feedback. The article we read discussed feedback in a number of ways and the discussion of the group gave instructors the opportunity to relate their own experiences to the content.
- The novelty of writing responses in an in-person setting. Giving us the space to write our thoughts instead of speaking them provided us with the opportunity to voice opinions that we might not have been able to articulate well vocally.
The group ended by unanimously deciding to complete the long-awaited jigsaw activity at our final meeting. Providing participants with choice and agency in their learning was a great way for us to practice what we were learning!
Reading Group Meeting #4 – April 6, 2023
For our final meeting, the Reading Group met to complete our highly-anticipated jigsaw activity (and shared in a delightful spread of snacks from Cafe NV). We began the activity by sitting with other members of the group who read the same assigned article and discussing the “highpoints” and main takeaways of the article. After that discussion, these groups fractured and reformed so that each group had at least one representative for each article. We then taught each other about our assigned articles and answered any questions that arose.
Our articles included:
- “Building From Our Sensitive Edges” by Kreiger & Colman.
- “Building a Framework: Critical Pedagogy in Action” by Burnett.
- “Indigenizing Design for Online Learning in Indigenous Education” by Sam, et al.
Though each article was different, we were able to identify some overarching themes and to ask practical questions about how each of the articles related to our individual work and to the mission of Connecticut College.
We concluded this final meeting with a discussion of how to move forward with the work of Critical and Compassionate Instructional Design. Though we did not create a formal plan of action, we did discuss how we might adopt some of the tools described in our readings and how this important work will influence each of us moving forward.
This work would not have been possible without generous funding from the Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE). We are grateful for their support and for the dedication of all staff and faculty who joined us for this experience. Stay tuned for future discussions of this important topic!