Inspired by the efforts of the Leeds “Together We Succeed” initiative and the ATDT on the Pathways to Space project, Kevin Schaub, Instructor for Organizational Leadership and Information Analytics in the Leeds School of Business, reached out to the ATDT for a consult in Spring of 2018.
Courtney Fell and Doris Cheung, both Learning Experience Designers in the ATDT, learned that Kevin is leading a team of Leeds faculty charged with creating a set of common in-class guidelines for etiquette and professionalism. With input from Leeds faculty, he and his team wanted to develop a syllabus template to help faculty communicate professional values and expectations, which would provide guidance to their students about behavior and decision making. The hope, he explained, is that these efforts would contribute to greater consistency and coordination among the Business Core (BCOR) curriculum.
While Kevin’s first priority was to seek advice on his approach with the syllabus template, the ATDT delved further to better understand the bigger picture. This undertaking was part of a larger effort to support the Leeds School of Business BCOR Professionalism Initiative (VIP Program), spearheaded by Liz Stapp, incoming BCOR Director and Senior Instructor for Business Ethics and Social Impact. The VIP Program is one of her many initiatives to facilitate a more cohesive learning experience for students enrolled in BCOR courses.
Upon hearing more about the existing BCOR classes, other first-year efforts related to professionalism, and fit with third- and fourth-year courses, the ATDT recommended the following approaches:
Explore synergistic alignments with others working on similar goals
We recommended that Kevin and Liz identify key individuals and groups (including those responsible for freshmen orientation and advising) to explore the potential for collaborations that would maximize efficiencies, and more important, ensure message consistency for students throughout their academic careers at Leeds.
Design for accessibility and inclusiveness from the start
After reviewing Kevin’s syllabus template draft, Brad Grabham, Learning Experience Designer with the ATDT, provided a framework for Kevin to consider for incorporating Universal Design for Learning (UDL) guidelines to help improve learning for all students. For starters, Brad also pointed Kevin to the following resources:
- Make your Word documents accessible and apply built-in heading styles
- Customize or create new styles in Word instead of manually making modification to formatting
- Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible and add alt text to images and format text for accessibility
- Use table headers when using tables to layout content visually instead of using bold or colored text
- Present information in multiple ways
Develop a plan to measure outcomes
Kevin and Liz explored Visualizing Instructional Practices (VIP) with the ATDT’s Shane Schwikert, Education Technology Researcher for ASSETT to discuss how it could be adapted to observe student behaviors in the classroom that demonstrate professionalism (e.g., arriving to class on time, refraining from side conversations or device use, showing respect for diverse perspectives). While the VIP service is dedicated to the College of Arts and Sciences, Liz and Kevin could take advantage of already-scheduled observation trainings and equip their own team to conduct observations.
Path Toward Success
Kevin and Liz have taken the spirit of “Together We Succeed” throughout their efforts to engage various campus organizations, broaden cross-campus collaboration, highlight consistent professionalism and etiquette expectations, and broaden the Leeds students’ and faculty’s sense of community within and outside of their coursework.
When asked how the ATDT helped Kevin and Liz move their efforts forward, Liz replied, “ATDT provided a roadmap to success, which involved communicating with various resources within and outside of Leeds and including OIT.” She added that they remain encouraged and inspired by the various experts and campus resources who have supported their efforts throughout.