Faculty Retreat 2020 Recap: Going Full TILTSubmitted by Stephanie Whalen, Academy Chair, English & Interdisciplinary Studies

This year’s Faculty Retreat theme, Transparency in Learning and Teaching, or TILT, was timely in helping faculty to ensure that the purpose of learning activities, tasks required of students, and criteria for successful completion of each activity were made clear as faculty prepared for flexible, off-campus instruction scheduled to begin the following week. The transparency framework is particularly relevant for distance education in that many students accessing learning online are experiencing a different, and often less conversational, type of coaching from the faculty compared to what they typically receive in a classroom setting.

Angela Rasmussen from Spokane Community College shared the research that shows how application of the TILT framework has shown great gains in success outcomes for systemically non-dominant students at research institutions. Through a series of interactive prompts, Angela asked faulty to consider aspects of navigating college that were confusing to them as well as what small changes they might implement to make instruction more transparent to students. A video from a Harper student explained how sometimes students feel like they have to “translate the teaching,” another Harper student cautioned against assuming students all have the same foundational knowledge, and a third student explained that it helps to break overwhelming assignments into clear steps. Faculty learned how making students more explicitly aware of the ways that learning experiences are structured and how the skills will apply going forward can increase student motivation. Faculty also considered language to create positive expectancies for students to increase student engagement.

The Friday program was adjusted to provide attendees with a session geared specifically toward the rapid transition to off-campus learning. Our President, Dr. Avis Proctor, greeted the faculty at the beginning of this segment to answer questions about off-campus instruction, and Kathy Bruce, Interim Associate Provost, facilitated an update and extended discussion on issues related to teaching while campus is closed. The Academy then provided guidance on how to organize materials online and plan meaningful learning experiences during this time. With more than 80 attendees, many ideas were shared to prepare for the transition to online. The evening program of team trivia followed by bowling, board games, and music helped faculty to spend some time decompressing from the stress of the COVID-19 crisis and rapid transition to off-campus teaching.

While Friday’s applications of the TILT framework focused mainly on the classroom, Saturday morning was an opportunity for faculty to consider additional ways that the TILT framework can be applied across the institution to strengthen a shared sense of clarity, purpose, and effectiveness in our other programming, protocols, and communications. TILT-ing event descriptions, meeting agendas, and emails were some of the ways that faculty applied TILT beyond classroom assignments and activities. Some faculty were able to stay past the scheduled ending of the retreat program to receive additional help from the Academy. The Academy staff went into the following week with more awareness of faculty needs that proved useful in planning two days of on-campus help sessions and then webinars on Essential Online Skills.

The 2020 Faculty Retreat certainly went Full TILT, but in more ways than was expected. Thank you to everyone who made the retreat and the rapid transition to online instruction successful!

View photos from the retreat.

Want to learn more about TILT? Ready to take the next step?

  • The Academy hosted a webinar on Thursday, January 16, 2020 with the lead TILT researcher, Dr. Mary Ann Winkelmes. In this webinar, Dr. Winkelmes reviewed the findings as well as educational research behind the concept of transparent teaching/learning and shared the research and overview of the concepts behind TILT. Watch the webinar and view resources.
  • Take the next step – apply the TILT framework in your course(s) with the help of the Academy by attending the summer TILT-A-Course Luau!

Questions? Please contact the Academy at 847.925.6174, academy@harpercollege.edu.