Teaching & Learning Community Event (by TTW contributor Troy Swanson)

Following the inspiration of TED (actually, copying TED), our library partnered with our campus’ Center for Teaching & Learning to create a special event that highlights our campus’ faculty and staff. This event which we affectionately called TLC: Teaching & Learning Community event, featured five faculty and staff members who gave mini-lectures on a range of topics. Our goal was to host a program in our library that produced web-ready content. We purposely limited each speaker to 15 minutes per presentation.

Our Goals

  1. Find teachers, innovators and leaders who are able to inspire us with “ideas worth sharing.”
  2. Create a live learning event that is captured and shared via social media within the larger Moraine Valley Community College community.
  3. Disseminate ideas in support of the curriculum.
  4. Foster knowledge sharing among faculty and staff in support of Moraine Valley Community College’s strategic priority of continuous improvement.
  5. Exhibit Moraine Valley’s wide variety of knowledge and talent to the external college community.
  6. Demonstrate the technology and instructional possibilities that are available within the Center for Teaching & Learning and Library through the live event and the social media offerings.

The live event was well attended. We captured, edited, and uploaded five videos. Our views on YouTube have been steadily climbing. We are in the process of planning our next TLC event for November of 2012 featuring six speakers.

The Surprise Process
One surprise was the process that evolved around the event preparation. We were concerned that our speakers would ignore the 15-minute time limit given to them, so we set up a practice session several weeks in advance. This led to additional practice sessions where the presenters worked with each other to craft and hone their ideas. A real sense of community formed among the speakers. Several of the presentations were very personal, so the encouragement of fellow participants spread in the confidence presenters. Creating a focused presentation that stays within the 15-minute limit is difficult. The editing & revision process helped to improve the finished product.

The live event was recorded with 2 HD cameras for video and an MP3 recorder for audio. Our editor (event co-planner, John Neff  from the MVCC Center for Teaching & Learning) used Final Cut Pro and PluralEyes to pull together the video & audio.

Volunteering to Speak
I volunteered to also be one of the speakers. As one of the organizers of this event, I wanted to experience the process as a speaker. I used one of my information-literacy lectures (on bigfoot) which I had given several times in the past. I took a 50-minute lecture and reworked it for 15 minutes. I definitely felt the pressures of the 15-minute limit. The support and input of fellow-presenters made a difference.

Here’s a list of our finished videos:

“What Bigfoot Can Teach Us About Belief”
Dr. Troy Swanson
Knowledge and belief are intertwined in surprising ways. Troy Swanson discusses how the mythic creature Bigfoot can teach us about knowledge and belief.

“Perseverance and Hope: The Words of My Life”
Lawanda Burrell
Our experiences help to define who we are. LaWanda Burrell discusses how using perseverance and hope helped define her purpose in the eye of a life-altering storm.

“The Heart of My Writing: Younger Sons, Bastards, and Devils”
Dr. Thomas Dow
All good writing is personal. Tom Dow discusses how his own research into Victorian literature led back to himself.

“Why Joni Can’t (Won’t) Do Math or Science—And What You Can Do About It”
Larry Langellier
American students struggle in math and science. Larry Langellier discusses how the Lego project engages students in scientific thinking and problem solving.

“Communicating by Cutting Up Fabric and Sewing It Back Together”
Martha Mazeika
Life is a process of taking apart and sewing back together again. Martha Mazeika discusses her obsession with quilting and how she combines history and emotion in her art.

You can learn more about the TLC event at our website: http://www.morainevalley.edu/tlc/

Troy A. Swanson is Department Chair and Teaching & Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College. He is the author of the upcoming book, Managing Social Media in Libraries. You can follow him on Twitter at @t_swanson.