With a Little Help from our Friends: Teaching Collectives as Lifelines in Troublesome Times

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Lynn Jettpace
Leslie Miller
Mary Ann Frank
Michelle Lynn Clemons
Nancy Goldfarb


Emergencies have a way of changing the orientation of faculty from academic projects to surviving the unknown and coping with change. Many faculty members, because they frequently work independently, often lack support structures through which they can engage in mutual aid during times of crisis. The authors recently discovered that having a community of colleagues with whom to share ideas has made them more resilient to changing circumstances. While the Civility Community of Practice at IUPUI has been meeting since 2014 as an interdisciplinary research collective, it transitioned to a weekly online teaching and support seminar in response to the university’s unexpected move to online course delivery on account of the pandemic. This reflective essay will examine the transformative possibilities of a teaching collective in the face of crisis. From the onset of the crisis, each of the authors had personal and teaching challenges that the group’s Zoom meetings resolved. The weekly meetings involved sharing teaching tips but also basic survival strategies, tips they never imagined discussing with professional colleagues. In addition to discussing the elements that make a successful learning community, this essay will include reflections by each of the five community members about how the Zoom meetings helped them adapt to and navigate their personal and professional lives during the pandemic. In these individual reflections, the authors will discuss how moving their courses online challenged their teaching practices, motivated their experimentation with Zoom, and transformed their online classroom to impact the student learning experience.

Keywords: Community of Practice, CoP, Teaching, Learning, Online, Faculty Learning Community, COVID-19, Pandemic


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Jettpace, L., Miller, L., Frank, M. A., Clemons, M. L., & Goldfarb, N. (2021). With a Little Help from our Friends: Teaching Collectives as Lifelines in Troublesome Times. Journal of Teaching and Learning With Technology, 10(1). Retrieved from https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/jotlt/article/view/31377
Reflective Essay