In one of the most eye-catching names (and teasers) for a presentation at MoodleMoots this year, Karla Fribley, Seminaries Librarian, Academic Technologist, and “frontline Moodle support” at Earlham College (Richmond, IN) might have dived into your thoughts:
“I think we all need a spa moment.”
Training faculty and accounting for their limited supply of time, patience, or even in critical cases sanity, often resorts to lax learning interventions that focus on indulgence. Something that, after a small sensible dose, starts to compromise the value of the intervention itself. But Fribley might have found a route that is not too different in terms of the pleasantness it is bound to produce among her subjects. Rather than complying with vain demands, her work takes a road closer to wellness.
Her “Course Design Spa” initiative, which has gained respectable levels of favoritism and a waiting list, is literally titled. For two days, staff from all backgrounds interested in creating or improving their Moodle courses will enjoy instructional design experts along with professional massage therapists. Even though Fribley deprecates her approach constantly, deeming it “silly” or “cheesy,” it underlines a flexible, practical, and hassle-free workshop where attendees leave with a tangible product and regained levels of energy to boot, besides being “pretty cheap.” Instead of a structured program, attendees schedule one-on-one appointments with the experts who assist both kinds of needs.
Currently, the “Course Design Spas” have only been attempted when Fribley has been able to staff them. For the faculty at Earlham, and Bethany Theological Seminary on occasion, it is also an opportunity to move forward with team projects. Some participants also schedule personal time to work on specific projects, in which they work for a few hours and then later the same day share their work with the team or expert reviewers. After some feedback, the Spas now also include group sessions with expert moderation, and time management experts have joined the roster to help faculty plot out their semester.
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