Last week’s AdjunctChat was the first one on the new Tuesdays 4:00-4:30pm EDT 30-minute, weekly format, and it was one of the more engaging ones we have had in some time. Part of what made it so interesting was the affirmation of how this can be a valuable forum, along with a number of suggestions for next steps.
Thanks to Virginia Yonkers (@Comprof1) for gathering this list of suggestions for helping AdjunctChat to be an even more useful experiences. I added a couple others extracted from the transcript as well:
- weekly is better and more predictable
- balance between practice and issues
- possible research partners
- perhaps research on adjuncts (perhaps the Chronicle is working on this? Delphi Project, NFM Foundation, etc. doing #adjunct research)
- guest speakers/spec topics with resources
- consolidate platforms (chat transcript (very important for those who can’t make it live), AutoTweet link thruout the week, blog, perhaps Twitter account just for #adjunctchat)
- maybe next post with a brief lead-in/explanation for context
- takes time to grow community
- next week, invite/bring a friend to the chat
With this said, onward and upward, starting with the *NEW* AdjunctChat Twitter account!
Some of our recent #AdjunctChat chats have been a bit limited, and while this may be due to semester scheduling, areas of discussion, the processes for selecting discussion topics, world events, the flu, and a myriad of other reasons, one thing above all calls for it to be a topic of discussion–what viable options exist for it to continue?
I started #AdjunctChat as an opportunity for adjunct instructors to come together at a set time to discuss areas of shared interest and resources, due in large part because I had a need for such a community. While many of my needs were met, along with those of some participants over the period, recently it seems there has been less interest in it happening in a formalized manner (perhaps because the issue is becoming more of an official topic / issue / problem in higher education itself) or people have been busy, etc. With this said, I am wondering what ongoing needs it may have or if it fills a void in anybody’s ongoing development and adjunct teaching work. In other words, shall we continue it?
I recently reached out to a number of people who have engaged with it before, and will see what the larger community wants or needs. Perhaps 30 minutes weekly would be easier than 60 minutes biweekly? Let’s see if 4:00-4:30pm EDT on Tuesdays would work. Feedback is really requested on this one.
One thing is certain from this experience; I have learned a lot about how these things work, along with meeting many really wonderful and interesting people along the way. Glad at least I can find some value in all this, especially as it is a voluntary contribution in time and resources that are on top of my work and teaching and studies. Feedback and suggestions are most welcome, either here or via Twitter.
I started #AdjunctChat several months ago to meet what I perceived was a need regarding support and resource sharing amongst adjunct instructors in higher education. Having taught as an adjunct in two universities, between 3 different schools, for nearly ten years, I couldn’t help but think that other adjuncts may find it useful to share, give, and take, and as I could not readily find this happening anywhere else, I thought I should do something about that (rather than just consider it to no end with no action). Some of this history was recently discussed in Issue 5 of the The Grad Caucus Chronicle.
Now that the #AdjunctChat tag seems to be used a bit, I think it may be time to get some thoughts on how else this can be used to increase and support discussions that bring value to the lives of very busy (adjunct) instructors. While we recently discussed which day and time works best, at least for this semester, now may be an opportunity to discuss other specifics about how this functions.
What I am thinking about is how we facilitate #AdjunctChat, how we select topics, and the time span for the chats themselves. If there are other issues that should be considered now, please let me know!
- Regarding facilitation, I am wondering if having some guest or collaborative facilitators to focus on specific topics / dates, would not be a bad idea. It would allow for a different focus, facilitation style, and layers of engagement. Interested in (considering) this?
- Regarding how we select topics, this has been done a week or so before the chat. If we have guest facilitators, should the topics then be linked to the person? How long in advance should this be decided? How about changing the topical area at the last minute due to pressing topics of current interest (cf. #IAmMargaretMary)?
- Finally, while the live chat has been for one hour every other week, it was recently suggested that this time period be expanded, with comments made over a longer period during that day. I am not sure how much this would work without active facilitation, though perhaps others may have some insights on this topic?
#AdjunctChat has been an experience coming from my passion about identifying and building community when a need is identified, and I am starting to sense some new needs that I hope we can adapt this informal (and fully uncompensated and unsponsored) little group. Please either share your thoughts as comments here OR Tweet me in response. Thanks for all the support and encouragement I have received since embarking upon this little project.