The Interface Faculty Seminar was designed to engage UF instructors in demonstrations, discussion, and peer networking focused on improving teaching and learning by deploying innovative pedagogy using new and emerging technologies.
The Spring 2013 Session ran on April 25th and was a great success according to participants. Nearly 200 people participated, including online participants from Boise state (Idaho), Florida International University, Maryville (Missouri), Indiana (do you really need the state?), and Texas Tech (likewise).
Thanks to Curtis Bonk, our keynote speaker, and to all the presenters who made this session such a valuable sharing, learning, and networking experience! Likewise, thanks to the Office of Academic Technology, The Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, and the UF Libraries for their continued support for Interface.
Theme: Instructor Communities: Interest, Inquiry, & Practice
We are going to consider running a Fall 2013 Interface session. The tentative date for this would be December 5th and the topic will be Academic Communities.
Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems—in short a shared practice. This takes time and sustained interaction.
– Etienne Wenger, 2006
Academic Communities can exist for a wide variety of purposes: communities of practice (e.g. teaching, research), communities reflecting scholarly disciplines (e.g. Asian History, Organic Chemistry, Particle Physics, Cosmology, etc.), communities for support (e.g. health and wellness, work-life balance, etc.), communities of interest (institutional policy, creativity, arts in the sciences, etc.), collaboration communities, and many others. The key to any academic community is the coming together of like-minded people sharing a common goal (e.g. improving teaching), interest (e.g. scholarly discipline groups), or passion (e.g. reading groups).
The power and benefit of academic communities of practice is well established in research literature. The challenge is how to create, leverage, and sustain these kinds of academic communities at the University of Florida not just for academics, but also for students in our academic environment. Plan to join us at the next Interface as we explore this important topic!