By defining the term “educator” as broadly as possible, the #iteachmsu Commons social platform makes room for TAs, professors, advisors, learning experience designers, staff, and more to connect and share information. By providing this common space, a biology instructor with an innovative method of engaging students, for instance, can share findings with an English instructor who would have otherwise remained a stranger.
The #iteachMSU Commons is also a place where anyone from MSU can share their gratitude for a specific teacher. The “Thank an Educator” portion of the social platform is a space to shout out our praise for colleagues who inspired us with their aptitude or kindness.
“Seth came back to grad school after years developing curricula and learning materials for online courses. Little did he know last fall how valuable that skill set was about to become! He has been an incredible asset to our department and beyond during the shift to online teaching. His advice and insights about problem solutions reflect his ability to leverage both the best technology and the best practices for effective pedagogy. In addition, he has been a willing and gracious volunteer. Thank you, Seth!” —Tammy Long, regarding Seth Hunt, Department of Plant Biology
Maintaining a positive, cross-disciplinary teaching community is especially difficult with so many logistical challenges brought on by the pandemic. Learning Experience Designer Makena Neal, a Hub Graduate Fellow and project lead for the #iteachMSU Commons, sees thanking educators as beneficial in multiple ways.
“We know that we have some amazing individuals who contribute in huge ways to student success through teaching and learning related activities, but we wanted an avenue to celebrate them and uplift their work in a public way,” says Neal.
Thank an Educator also supports the #iteachmsu Commons teams’ holistic notion of teaching. Says Neal, “Because any educators (using our broad definition) can be recognized via the initiative, we hoped that the recognition would reinforce the idea that the recipient is considered an educator by others.”
#iteachMSU Commons is a work in progress, but there are already thousands of Spartans logging on to the platform, and plenty of great content. According to Neal, the site will be expanding its core functionality in the fall, with a user experience refresh to match.
Anyone at MSU can log on to the #iteachMSU Commons and browse content, connect with colleagues, and thank an educator who has made a difference to them, large or small. Check it out here.