We have an extraordinary community of online practitioners in SUNY with a 20-year history of learning, teaching, sharing, researching, innovating, and continuously improving what we know about effective online teaching and learning. As a true “community of practice,” our numbers include diverse interests, as well as varying levels of expertise and experience. We aim to cultivate these interests and leverage the expertise of our rich and vibrant community of online educators in a peer-to-peer network. This network will take advantage of the strengths of our faculty as: innovators increasing our understanding of effective online teaching and learning; experts helping their peers with instructional design aspects; mentors and coaches sharing effective practices; experienced educators open to new and innovative ways of teaching and learning; and new entrants in online education who can share, benefit, and contribute for the benefit of all.
Open SUNY Fellows building on SUNY’s community of practice
To further build on SUNY’s “community of practice,” the center is formalizing roles that online educators have always played within their campus and the broader system community. This will allow faculty members to contribute more effectively to the SUNY community, enable campuses and the center to better identify and fulfill the specific needs of faculty, and create better visibility among peers with shared interests across the system. By signing up for a role, online education experts reaffirm their commitment to online-enabled education and gain membership to the center as “Open SUNY Fellows.” With this membership, the center commits to supporting the faculty on their online education journey, while faculty pledge to give back to the SUNY community.
We invite you, as current and future online educators in SUNY, to join us as Open SUNY Fellows. We look forward to working with you to build a closer, stronger, and more vibrant SUNY community around online education.
Key supports enabling Open SUNY Fellows
To enable Open SUNY Fellows to contribute effectively to the Open SUNY community, the center will support them with measures aligned to their needs. While the specifics of these measures are being finalized, the following serves as a current working draft and guiding document for creation of these key supports:
Community commitments made by Open SUNY Fellows
At the heart of a well-functioning community of practice are the contributions made by members to the community as a whole. We recognize that members will continue to contribute to the community in various ways and forms, yet to enable a well-functioning peer-to-peer network, it is essential that the experience and expertise of the community members be leveraged to: provide mentorship opportunities to faculty new to online education; turn theory into practice; facilitate and lead faculty development events; create and disseminate new and innovative practices; and foster lively in-person and online forums. As such, the Center will recognize contributions back to the community within the framework of community roles:
Signing up to be an Open SUNY Fellow
Recognition as an Open SUNY Fellow is an opportunity for faculty and online instructional designers to be formally acknowledged and valued for their commitment to learn from, and contribute back to, the SUNY-wide community. The roles envisioned in the center provide a framework to recognize experience and expertise and allow us all to benefit from experienced online educators who are willing to commit to share what they know with their peers across the SUNY system.