As part of my studies with the Digital Education Leadership program at SPU, I recently engaged in and completed an exercise in peer coaching with a teacher. I took into consideration that I now work at a startup, and the professional learning I would be working with her on would be all online and for a particular product. I gradually transitioned from the point of power and requests to a more to a collaborative partner, capable of leading and guiding inquiry. I practiced communication skills, including active listening and questioning strategies as my collaborating partner and I worked to rebuild our ECT program at Edmodo. Much of my work in this course centered around the study of Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Communication by Les Foltos.
Beyond what we already learned and addressed how can I create a broader and more personal relationship when conducting online peer coaching?
As part of my reflection, I am considering how I can engage in peer coaching practices without ever having a traditional classroom to step into. All the coaching is done online through Edmodo classroom and groups. On top of that, how do I evaluate and create metrics of success on the online coaching model? As I work in a business where I must demonstrate all efforts as value to the company. So I must put forth a plan to revitalize the ECT program.
What is essential to the program to create trainers who we can trust? What support does my facilitator need from me to be more successful in the next cohort?
Research by Shauna and Baker (2005) explains that One of the challenges resulting from the growing popularity of online education is how to efficiently evaluate online instruction. Within their paper “Peer Coaching for Online Instruction: An Emerging Model for Faculty Development” where the central question isn’t whether this new approach to education is effective — the plethora of “no significant difference” studies mainly render that question moot — but what steps can be taken to not only ensure that individual courses are useful but provide the necessary guidance to promote faculty growth and development as they teach online.
Ensuring Quality of Online Instruction – Peer Coaching Cycle – “A team of experienced online instructors is currently adapting this peer coaching model for the online environment and has performed preliminary online peer coaching during this past academic year.”
Within the protocol, the coach logs into Blackboard course site multiple times during a week. “We encourage the online peer coach to take particular notice of the virtual classroom environment and interpersonal communication dynamics. Such facets include the design and layout of the blackboard web pages, the tone of the announcements and course materials, the level of learner-instructor engagement and learner-learner engagement in class discussions, the types of media used for presenting materials, the ease of navigation, the clarity of course instructions, and the instructor’s mastery of the course content and effectiveness at presenting it to the class.” As I look towards the future of our program, at Edmodo I see how important it is to figure out a way to evaluate the course as it is happening. The program facilitator is an experienced teacher but teaching online with a cohort from 19 different countries is a whole different beast. The kids that come to school every day are pushed from so many different sides to attend her class while these grown adults must see value and excitement every single time they log into the system. It was tough to witness the attrition (the loss of customers or clients over time) because the end results are ECTs and these advocates are so valuable to the company. As it sits thought it is just too long to keep hard-working teachers engaged, six weeks is a long time to stay concentrated on anything in this day and age especially when there isn’t any promise of compensation at the end.
How do I want to proceed with rebuilding the program?
Recently, I attended Advocamp an Advocate Marketing Strategy conference in San Francisco because that is a significant aspect of my job. It was put on by a company called Influitive which is in the business of creating online hubs for other businesses to host advocate marketing campaigns and challenges. It really allows you to gamify the system and reward your advocates with rewards and points. The most valuable session I attended was by Deena Zenyk, from Influitive her session was titled “Uncover the hidden value of your advocacy program by learning to use the power of campaign-based planning.” She recently wrote a book about the Six Habits of Highly Effective Advocate Marketers and “Consider your last big purchase: What influenced your decision? A paid advertisement? A polished press release? A celebrity Twitter endorsement? A marketing email? A product webpage? Probably not. More than likely, you listened to someone you know and trust. An authentic voice with relevant experience is the most convincing proponent when we’re considering a new product or company. That is the power of an advocate.” I think that this message although hard for some teachers to believe but sometimes we are a hard audience to sell to and we really only like to listen to people who have gone through what we have. Sometimes I talk about my first couple years of teaching at an alternative high school like some people talk about serving in the military. Now I know it is not comparable to what our military does for our country, but I genuinely do not feel like people at my work know what it is like for a teacher unless they have themselves have taught a couple of years. That is just one reason why our ECT program brings so much value to our company because teachers only like to hear from other teachers when talking about a product. But how do we create a course that is the right balance between getting enough experience with the product and short enough to keep everyone’s excitement and engagement? So Deena Zenyk mentioned a system that CISCO put together years ago called VSEM, Vision, Strategy, Execution and Metric. Moreover, I am going to put my program through this organization and see what comes out. Here is what it looks like when diagramed.
Is collaboration worth the investment? As you plot the next steps in your collaboration journey, it helps to understand the returns that are possible
The improved collaboration represents the best opportunity for business leaders to tap the full range of talents of their people, move with higher speed and flexibility, and compete to win over the next decade. But building a collaborative organization requires a transformative approach to culture, processes, and technology – along with an unwavering commitment from top to bottom. Leaders who encourage change on all three fronts will be rewarded with an energized organization that can adapt quickly to changing markets and deliver results.
Cisco Inc (Ed.). (2012). The Collaboration Imperative: Executive Strategies for Unlocking Your Organization’s True Potential – CISCO. Retrieved December 09, 2017, from https://www.cisco.com/en/US/services/ps2961/ps2664/collaborative_imperative.pdf
Foltos, L. (2013). Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.
Foltos, L. (2015). Principals boost coaching’s impact: school leaders’ support is critical to collaboration. Journal Of Staff Development, 36(1), 48-51,.
Shauna, T., Ph.D., & Baker, J. D., Ph.D. (2005). Peer Coaching for Online Instruction: An Emerging Model for Faculty Development. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from Http://warehouse.olc.edu/~cdelong/dl401/peercoaching.pdf,
Institute for Higher Education Policy. (2000). Quality on the line: Benchmarks for success in Internet-based distance education. Retrieved from http://www.ihep.org/sites/default/files/uploads/docs/pubs/qualityontheline.pd