Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 29 seconds
So before I share my story, I have to just admit to my working style. If you don’t know me, you may not know this, but I make “friends” with most people I work with… my colleagues in the department, the faculty I support, whoever. So my working relationships tend to make it relatively easy to go “playful” – if you’re not that type of personality, or your faculty are not that kind, this may not be for you 🙂 Alternatively, if you’re getting bored of what you already do, it might be worth the risk?
So I did two playful thing in a “course redesign” consultation meeting. It’s also important to point out that before I did these two things, I had a separate meeting beforehand that was a little more traditional that included some probing and unpack what the issues might be with the course first. Then the playful meeting
Visioning with Cover Story (A gamestorming technique)
So the first thing I tried was a visioning exercise with Cover Story. This is a gamestorming technique where, according to their website, the participants “pretend as though this future has already taken place and has been reported by the mainstream media” – in our case, the future is that the course has already ended, and I said pretend the course is being reported on as being one of the best courses in the university, or in the world on this topic, or something like that. I guess you could also invite the faculty member to say what the “it” is that they have reached, that is being reported on, like was it the most impactful course, or the most popular, or the most innovative, whatever. And they can imagine what the media outlet is that is reporting, then start imagining who is being quoted about the course, and what are they saying? Then what are the images on the “cover story” and what are the headlines. Usually, you would keep going into sub-headlines and other details, but for us, we stopped before we reached that stage because we had enough information by then. Or I felt I had enough information… to then stop and say, OK so to get to these headlines, what kind of process and changes do you want to make to your course… and I’d help the faculty member see where there might be gaps. Like, for example, if their vision included students saying X and Y but their process did not have any element of teaching towards X or assessing Y. For example.
Preparing and Testing Ideas with AI Before the Meeting
I also ran the cover story concept through AI (ChatGPT) before our meeting, as well as a course syllabus, assignment prompt, and rubrics. I didn’t show these to the faculty member until just 5 mins before ending the meeting… but I realized it helped me prepare by making me imagine what might happen in the meeting. Sure, I had their actual syllabus from last semester, but it was interesting to see what the AI might come up with. The AI syllabus was pretty good by my standards, in terms of topics being similar to what the course does have, and in terms of well written learning outcomes. The rubric looked typical to what I think a faculty member might write. The Cover Story was vague, but that’s not unexpected. When I did the live consultation, the responses of the faculty member on first pass were also vague, but with discussion and prompting they took them deeper. I think, in hindsight, though I had run the prompts through AI for fun, I think it helped me prepare. I don’t know yet if the faculty member ever actually read what was in the document, but because it gave me a quick way to think about the consultation before I did it, I was better prepared to discuss it with the faculty member and dig deeper?
Have you experienced playful faculty development? What do you think of the above? Tell me in the comments!