Last term, Marlene Griffith Wrubel , Jane Holbrook and I offered a new type of workshop to instructors in the Faculty of Arts. We called it the Learning Studio in order to distinguish it from our previous workshops which had typically involved a presentation supplemented with questions and answers. The “Customizing Your Course in ACE” Learning Studio took place in the FLEX Lab where three CTE staff simultaneously facilitated three small discussion groups each focusing on a specific online learning topic. Participants were able to choose which discussion group to join and were able to move to a different group at any time. Marlene and I were excited by the dynamic learning environment that we saw evolve during the first studio. Due to the flexible format of the studio session and the close proximity of the discussion groups, all participants were able to take on the role of both teacher and learner. Liaisons were available to provide hands-on guidance to instructors as they made modification to their online course site, but we also saw instructors guiding each other and liaisons drawing upon the expertise and experience of other liaisons in order to better assist instructors. Participants who had come planning to investigate a specific learning activity were able to implement it immediately into their ACE site during the course of the session, but they often then went on to explore new and more complex learning tools. The excitement in the room was almost palpable as we all shared the experiences of acquiring new knowledge, applying it to courses and anticipating the impact of these newly enhanced learning environments. This term, Marlene and I, together with several other CTE Liaisons, hope to offer two more “Customizing Your Course in ACE” Learning Studios while more carefully examining the learning that takes place in this collaborative learning environment.
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