Digital Scholar Course Lessons Learned

Digital Scholar Course Lessons Learned

Digital Scholar Course Design

Digital Scholar served as the platform for our pre-workshop online course on Backbone Design for CS/STEM education initiatives. The Scholar partnership is the conjunction of the University of Illinois College of Education, the Geneva Learning Foundation, and Learning Strategies International. Please click here to see more detailed information on the Digital Scholar Team.

Figure 1. Digital Scholar Write-Review-Revise process

The ‘National Backbone Foundation’ Fictitious RFP Process

To make the course learning objectives interesting and engaging, the course organizers created a fictitious ‘National Backbone Foundation’ RFP that was requesting proposals for funding to support the creation of backbone functions for CS/STEM related collective impact like initiatives. It allowed course participants to practice articulating and promoting their ideas and to have a real world experience of trying to sustain their initiatives. The following PDF  outlines the fictitious RFP created for the course.

Suggested Readings

Mr. Hassan and the Digital Scholar Team highlighted helpful background reading material to assist the course participants to quickly learn the basics of Collective Impact and Backbone Functions.

Digital Scholar Commencement and Certificates: March 9, 2017

Those participants who completed the course received a certificate and a commencement online ‘ceremony’ was held to celebrate course ‘graduates’. The requirements for receiving a course certificate were:

  • Participation in Community dialogue
  • Participation in the weekly discussion group
  • Submission of a draft backbone outline
  • Peer review of three backbone outline drafts
  • Submission of a finalized backbone outline

Commencement Ceremony Information

Here were the key participation and course completion numbers shared by Mr. Sadki:

  • 173 people applied to participate in the course
  • 110 started the course
  • 34 submitted actual projects
  • 19 projects reached the final stage of the course

Summary of participant feedback shared during Commencement session:

  • Reactive: “I appreciate your dedication to making the course meaningful to all of us”
  • Dialogue: “The discussions were excellent”
  • Collaboration: “[My community’s project] has many good components of Collective Impact already. That is exciting for me and our team!”
  • Course Team: “Really appreciated the support and pedagogical leadership”
  • Peer Review: “The peer reviews others did on my work was extremely helpful”
  • Outcomes: “I learned so much about collective impact and witnessed a number of very successful strategies for adult professional learning”. “We signed up for the course because I wanted deadlines and peers to keep us motivated. It worked!”
  • Applicability: “The outlines for assignments DID help me write an NSF INCLUDES pre-proposal”. “This started as an artificial project but I am so excited by the preliminary data that I will present this to the numeracy team as a possibility for a team initiative.”

Table 2. Final projects from Digital Scholar CI for CS course

Barbara Ann Brown Sumter, SC CI4Food&$
*Rosabel Deloge Moving CS4NH to the Public Space
Timothy Gachanga Preserving heritagee by developing STEM education Backbone function
*John Gifford Collective Impact Initiative for the Rotorua Eastside Community of Learning_STEM & Computer Science
*Carol Giruiceo Providence, Rhode Island
J. Kemi Ladeji-Osias Early STEM Engagement for Minorities Backbone function
Lauren Margulieux Atlanta, GA Subgoal Backbone Function
*Patricia Mikos CS Matters in Maryland Backbone functions
Craig Ogilvie Strengthening Community College Faculty Preparation Across the Nation Backbone function
*Rachelle Robley Oakland, CA Support Aligned Activities
Maureen Ryan Building K-12 Computer Science Education in the Jasper County Charter System
*Paige Sutcliff Statesboro, GA Planning for Computer Science Ed
*Marina Theodotou CTA (Computer Teachers Association)
Felicia Tillman Atlanta, GA Coding Curriculum Implementation
Mary Tumlin The Power of STEAM
*Richard Vines Social and cultural informatics as a cornerstone backbone function
Laura Wilson Orono, ME_ Development of a Follow a Researcher Network
Sandi Woodall GaDOE STEM_STEAM
*Cindy Ziker Backbone Support for Early Engagement of Minority Males in STEM

In many ways, the Digital Scholar Workshop was a trial to determine if an online learning community could help CS/STEM initiatives to broaden participation by priority groups. We were able to help many of the participants to advance their organizing efforts. The CS/STEM collective impact learning community we created in Digital Scholar developed new ways of creating, sharing, and improving their concepts. With some additional support from the NSF or other funders, this learning community could continue to advance efforts for improving collective impact-like initiatives. However, we were not able to keep the NSF INCLUDES Launch Pilots engaged in the course. The vast majority of those who completed the course were from other CS/STEM education initiatives in the US and some from around the world.