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New Faculty Workshop Faculty Online Learning Communities (NFW-FOLCs)

How do I effectively implement what I learned at the New Faculty Workshop?  Join a NFW-FOLC!


What is a Faculty Online Learning Community?

The Workshop for New Physics and Astronomy Faculty is a great experience for learning about exciting, effective teaching methods. However, one of the things we have learned from faculty who have attended past workshops is that they often go home with great new ideas but need help in implementing them. Faculty members have high expectations about how they can improve their teaching, but need a support network for when they face inevitable setbacks. To address these issues, we have created Faculty Online Learning Communities (FOLCs), virtual communities of faculty who have attended the same New Faculty Workshop. The goal of these communities is to extend the discussions begun at the New Faculty Workshop and to provide participants support as they implement new teaching practices throughout the year following their attendance at the Workshop.

What is the structure of a NFW-FOLC?

NFW-FOLC participants engage in virtual, bi-weekly meetings to discuss timely issues related to their teaching with each other. At some of these meetings, experienced practitioners of the techniques you learn about at the Workshop will join. These guest are chosen based on participant interests. To communicate between meetings, participants use an online environment that is like Facebook, but designed specifically for the NFW-FOLC and open only to NFW-FOLC participants. This environment will allow you to ask and answer questions, solicit and provide feedback, share materials and resources, and cheer for each other, all with the aim of improving your teaching. Additionally, during the second half of the NFW-FOLC participants will have the opportunity to complete a small Scholarship of Teaching and Learning project to practice assessing changes they try in their classroom.

What are the benefits of joining a NFW-FOLC?

By joining a NFW-FOLC, you will have the opportunity to share your concerns, your issues, your questions, and your successes with a group of peers at a similar stage in their careers as you. This is a group who can help you in ways that go beyond what can be accomplished during a single meeting at the New Faculty Workshop and who can provide perspectives on teaching different from those at your home institution.  Upon successful completion of your year in the NFW-FOLC, you will receive a letter recognizing your participation and commitment to improving your teaching that can be used in promotion and tenure files.

How do I join the NFW-FOLC?

You will have the opportunity to hear more about our NFW-FOLCs at one of the sessions at the New Faculty Workshop, so make sure to attend! At the NFW-FOLC session, you'll hear from past NFW-FOLC participants and facilitators, and have an opportunity to sign up!


The NFW-FOLC is an NSF sponsored project. We are in the process of analyzing all aspects of the NFW-FOLC experience. Below are links to our published papers on this work :

Lau, A., Dancy, M., Corbo, J., Henderson, C. and Rundquist, A. An analysis of community formation in faculty online learning communities. Proceedings of the Physics Education Research Conference, Summer 2017 (In press).

Dancy, M., Lau, A.,  Corbo, J., Henderson, C. and Rundquist, A.  Participants' perceptions of the Faculty Online Learning Community (FOLC) experience. Proceedings of the Physics Education Research Conference, Summer 2017 (In press).

J. C. Corbo, A. Rundquist, C. Henderson, and M. H. Dancy. Using Asynchronous Communication to Support Virtual Faculty Learning Communities, Proceedings of the Physics Education Research Conference, Summer 2016.

Rundquist, A., Corbo, J., Martinuk, S., Chasteen, S., Henderson, C., & Dancy, M. Faculty Online Learning Communities to Support Physics Teaching. Proceedings of the Physics Education Research Conference, Summer 2015.

NSF logoThis project is supported by grants DUE-0813481, DUE-0121384, DUE-9554738 from the National Science Foundation.

For more information, contact folc.researcher@gmail.com.


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