Logo: Catalyst with a torch for the Y.

What is Catalyst?

Note: Catalyst is on hiatus for Fall ’21. We will return with details about future terms soon!

 

Catalyst is a collaborative faculty development program that explores pedagogy and provides design support to jumpstart new course design and instructional projects.

Catalyst is offered multiple times throughout the year. Each iteration of the program is a session that lasts approximately 3-4 weeks.

Each time Catalyst is offered, the session will have a specific pedagogical focus that informs the content, activities, and design project for that session. The focus for each Catalyst session will be indicated in its title and explained in its description. Regardless of the focus, the primary goals of Catalyst are to brings faculty members together to:

  1. explore the intersection of technology and pedagogy together through content-driven modules and online interaction
  2. make progress on individual design projects with support from Academic Innovation and the Catalyst community
  3. build a community around WOU’s passion for teaching and learning

If you have any questions about an upcoming Catalyst session, feel free to reach out to askAI@wou.edu to learn more!

General Information

Upcoming Catalyst Sessions

 

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Catalyst Program Structure

The Catalyst program is divided into two parts: (1) Learn & Engage and (2) Design & Build. Each part has its own focus and requirements.

Learn & Engage focuses on working through module-based content and interacting with other participants. Design & Build focuses on each participant’s individual design project.

To advance to the second part (Design & Build), participants need to successfully complete modules and activities required in the first part (Learn & Engage). Details on each program stage are below.

Part 1: Learn & Engage

Overview

Part 1: Learn & Design is built around modules that cover pedagogical topics or instructional strategies. Each module has associated activities to spark discussion between participants, provide an opportunity to apply different concepts, and explore new technology and tools. The primary purpose of this part of Catalyst is to explore new ideas and engage with other participants in the course.

Modules are asynchronous but do need to be completed by specific deadlines. This is to ensure that participants are active at the same time so that we can engage one another and share ideas. So while there are no specific, scheduled meetings during Catalyst, it’s important to make time to work through the modules and activities in Part 1 during the first 7-10 days of the course so that we can build a community and engage.

Goals

  • Explore key, foundational concepts that support the pedagogical focus of the Catalyst session
  • Build community by engaging with one another on different activities, discussions, and feedback opportunities
  • Experiment with new tools and technology by completing different module activities
  • Provide opportunities for participants to brainstorm ideas for their design project, with feedback from facilitators and other participants 

Time Commitment

We estimate Part 1 to take most participants 10-15 hours to complete, spread over 7-10 days. Specific details and deadlines will be posted within the course site.

Part 2: Design & Build

Overview

Part 2: Design & Build is a chance to take concepts, ideas, and feedback from the Learn & Engage phase and build something meaningful to your future teaching goals. Whatever the project, Academic Innovation and other Catalyst participants will be there to help you reach your goal and finesse your ideas.

In the Design & Build phase, you will focus on an individual design project. Each participant creates their own project based on what fits best for their teaching context. Often the project relates to an upcoming course. Throughout the first half of Catalyst, you will have opportunities to brainstorm your project and talk through ideas with facilitators and other participants. Even once you’ve started working on your project, Catalyst facilitators are available to help you clarify your goals and identify potential strategies and tools that support your design project.

To support your project, Academic Innovation also provides instructional design consultations, technology assistance, and other resources.

Design Project

Each design project is unique to the participant’s goals and teaching context. The only requirements for the project are:

  1. Support a future teaching project, like an upcoming course
  2. Relate to the focus of the Catalyst session 

Because the projects are individual, the scope of each project will vary based on what is most helpful to the participant. To help illustrate potential ideas, here are projects previous Catalyst participants have pursued:

  • Enhancing video content by adding in interactive elements or restructuring longer videos lectures into shorter, more focused videos
  • Converting a course from Moodle to Canvas and using the opportunity to refresh/optimize content and design
  • Developing a standard module format that improves student experiences by providing consistent and clear organization of content, activities, instructions, and deadlines
  • Creating online activities that foster social engagement, augmenting standard discussions with activities like simulations/roleplays, group annotation, peer feedback/review, and collaborative projects

You are not required to complete your project during Catalyst as we don’t want the scope and quality of the project to be limited by an arbitrary time constraint. However, you are required to actively work on your project during Catalyst and complete 3 check-ins during the program so that facilitators can provide feedback and suggestions.

Time Commitment

You should expect to spend 10-15 hours on your design project, spread out over 2-3 weeks. AI staff will be available to provide support, such as instructional design consultations, technical assistance, tool suggestions, and other resources. You will also be able to share ideas with other participants and share project ideas. Many Catalyst sessions also include a peer faculty mentor who can be a great sounding board for your ideas. 

 

 

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Catalyst Incentives

Incentives are available to Catalyst participants who complete all the requirements for the Catalyst session in which they are enrolled. This includes all modules, associated activities, and design project check-ins. Information on these requirements will be shared at the start of each session and each Catalyst Canvas site uses badges to help you easily track your progress.

Academic Innovation believes incentives play an important part in recognizing the additional investment faculty members make in their course when they participate in additional faculty development and course design programming that require the time commitment Catalyst does.

Catalyst participants have some flexibility in how they receive their incentive, with options to receive a higher dollar amount when the incentive is applied to a professionally relevant purchase, such as technology or additional faculty development activities, instead of receiving a stipend as salary. This is because paying the incentive as salary incurs additional fringe costs (OPE). When the funds are applied to a purchase, Academic Innovation does not pay these costs and we are delighted to be able to pass these savings directly to the Catalyst participant.

Option 1: Stipend (paid as salary)

Participants may elect to receive their incentive as a $200 stipend. This stipend is paid as salary and subject to income tax.

Option 2: Technology Purchase

Participants can receive up to $300 towards a technology purchase that will improve their teaching experience, such as a premium subscription to a learning technology, improved audio-visual equipment, or any other hardware or software purchase that would improve their workflow, enhance teaching, or support scholarly activities. All technology purchases must follow WOU’s purchasing guidelines.

Option 3: Faculty Development Funding

Participants can receive up to $300 in funding for faculty development activities. Examples could include activities like membership and participation in professional organizations, participating in faculty development programs offered through external organizations, or securing services that support research, like interview transcription.

 

 

 

Application Information

Priority Selection

When interest exceeds capacity, priority will be given to applicants who are not participating in another Catalyst session this summer. If you are registered for more than one Catalyst, Academic Innovation will contact you to confirm your top choice and move you to a wait-list for your second choices.

Otherwise, applications will be filled on a first-come-first-serve basis. Remaining seats will be filled on a rolling basis until the program start.

Deadline & Rolling Applications

All Catalyst sessions have a priority deadline. For Summer ’21, the priority deadline for all sessions is June 15.

Applicants who apply after the priority deadline will be admitted on a first-come-first-serve basis until all seats are filled.

Wait-list

When a Catalyst session fills, additional applicants may be placed on a wait-list in case a spot becomes available. The wait-list, like admissions, is populated on a first-come-first-serve basis, with priority given to those who have not yet participated in a Catalyst session this summer.

Applications for Upcoming Catalyst Sessions

Eligibility

Participant Eligibility

Catalyst is open to all instructors at Western Oregon University. This includes all faculty members and staff who teach courses, even occasionally.

Catalyst is also open to staff members whose positions involve significant support for teaching and learning or who are involved in developing/facilitating training and professional development opportunities.

Accessibility Statement

Catalyst is open to all members of WOU’s community. Our application form will ask if you need an accommodation to fully participate in the program so that we can work with you and the Office of Disability Services to make arrangements. If you have any questions about what sort of accommodations and supports are available for events and programs at WOU, please contact Disability Services at 503-838-8250 or ods@wou.edu.

Catalyst Mentors

Some Catalyst sessions include a peer mentor as an additional support and sounding board for participants. Mentors join in Catalyst activities, interacting with the community, and meet throughout the program with 3-4 assigned mentees to help brainstorm and talk through ideas. Mentors are eligible for an incentive as recognition of their effort supporting Catalyst, available as either a stipend or funding.

Academic Innovation actively recruits mentors, typically drawing from faculty who have engaged with Academic Innovation through Catalyst or other programs. If you are interested in becoming a mentor for Catalyst, please reach out to askai@wou.edu and let us know.

Upcoming Catalyst Sessions

When Catalyst launched in Summer 2020, we had only one version that focused on foundational teaching principles for online and remote instruction. This summer, the program is expanding its scope and offering new opportunities for faculty. 

Beginning Summer 2021, our original Catalyst curriculum will continue to be offered under the name Catalyst: Foundations. In addition, we are adding in three new focuses this summer: flipping the classroom, engagement & interaction online, and effective educational videos. We hope to add more focuses as time goes on, based on emerging needs and participant feedback.

Catalyst: Foundations

Focus

Catalyst: Foundations focuses on core pedagogical principles for quality online and technology-enhanced teaching, introducing frameworks like the Community of Inquiry and Universal Design for Learning. Through different activities, participants have a chance to try different technology tools that may be useful in their own teaching.

Best For…

Catalyst Foundations is a great opportunity for instructors new to teaching online. It may also be useful for more seasoned online instructors who would like to refresh their knowledge while receiving support for a design project.

Dates

Catalyst: Foundations runs from July 26 through August 15
Part 1: Learn & Engage takes place during the first 7-10 days of the program. In order to ensure participants have a chance to interact with one another, there are structured deadlines for completing modules and activities during this time. You should plan to spend 10-15 hours in the course site between July 26-August 2 in order to successfully complete the program’s requirements.

How to Apply

Catalyst: Foundations Online Application

Applications for priority consideration are due by June 15.

Catalyst: Flipped

Focus

“Flipping” is an approach to course design where a significant amount of course content is delivered online and asynchronously, rather than as an in-person lecture, and some activities that would often be homework take place during classroom meetings. By making the lecture content homework, in-person meeting time is freed up for students to engage in activities that apply concepts from the asynchronous lecture and collaborate together to interrogate ideas or practice new skills. 

Design Project

Participants will develop a “flipped” learning plan for an upcoming course, mapping out online lecture content, converting some out-of-class assignments to in-person activities, and adjusting assessment plans and grading criteria accordingly. This “flipped” learning plan stands in as the Design Project, though resources and support are available for participants who would like to begin developing course materials and online content.

Best For…

This Catalyst may be of particular interest to instructors who created significant asynchronous online lecture content during remote instruction and would like to leverage those assets to change their in-person course dynamics.

Dates

Catalyst: Flipped runs from July 12 through August 1.
Part 1: Learn & Engage takes place during the first 7-10 days of the program. In order to ensure participants have a chance to interact with one another, there are structured deadlines for completing modules and activities during this time. You should plan to spend 10-15 hours in the course site between July 12-19 in order to successfully complete the program’s requirements.

How to Apply

Catalyst Flipped Online Application

Applications for priority consideration are due by June 15.

Catalyst: Multimedia for Learning

Focus

Catalyst: Multimedia for Learning focuses on the effective use of media in online or technology-enhanced courses. Participants will explore strategies for effective video lectures or online presentations, ways to use video/audio for just-in-time instruction and establishing community, and options for creating visual illustrations of concepts and processes. 

In addition to pedagogical considerations, participants will also learn basic video editing and identify a preferred set of tools for multimedia creation. Participants will also have access to specific resources, such as studio space, captioning services, and digitization services.

Best For…

Compared to other Catalyst sessions, this session will have more technical instruction and time spent working with technology to master some video editing and multimedia production skills. No previous experience is required but instructors who enjoy learning or playing new technology or who have some experience editing media will likely enjoy it most.

Dates

Catalyst: Multimedia for Learning runs from August 2 through August 22.
Part 1: Learn & Engage takes place during the first 7-10 days of the program. In order to ensure participants have a chance to interact with one another, there are structured deadlines for completing modules and activities during this time. You should plan to spend 10-15 hours in the course site between August 2-9 in order to successfully complete the program’s requirements.

How to Apply

Catalyst Multimedia Online Application

Applications for priority consideration are due by June 15.

Catalyst: Engage!

Focus

Catalyst: Engage! focuses on strategies that foster interaction and collaboration in online and technology-enhanced courses. In this session, you will have an opportunity to intentionally reflect on your goals for community and connection in your course.

Participants will explore both pedagogical frameworks and practical considerations. What are tools and workflows that will help you create opportunities for students to exchange ideas, explore course concepts together, and collaborate on group projects and assignments? How should these activities fit into your overall grading and assessment strategy?

Best For…

This is a great Catalyst focus for any course but may be of special interest for those teaching first-year-seminars.

Dates

Catalyst: Engage! runs from August 16 through September 5.
Part 1: Learn & Engage takes place during the first 7-10 days of the program. In order to ensure participants have a chance to interact with one another, there are structured deadlines for completing modules and activities during this time. You should plan to spend 10-15 hours in the course site between August 16-23 in order to successfully complete the program’s requirements.

How to Apply

Catalyst Engage! Online Application

Applications for priority consideration are due by June 15.