Three Main Ways I Find Partner Classes

This morning I had a great conversation with Tim Boundy, who coordinates videoconferencing for JANET in the UK. We compared notes on projects we’re running, the trials and challenges of scaling collaborations, and the different ways to partner classes. In the course of the discussion, I realized there are three main ways that I make my collaborations work.

Matching Events in CAPspace

One of the easiest ways to have a lot of classes participate in an event is to participate in a project that’s coordinated by someone and matched in CAPspace.

  • Read Around the Planet is an obvious one. I usually have 70-80 classes participate annually.
  • Partners are assigned by the project coordinator (randomly matched by the system in CAPspace).
  • I have to do test calls with 70-80 different places (unless I’m lucky to get some overlap in who we matched with).
  • Materials for the project are already created for the teacher.
  • Other examples include TWICE’s We the Kids, Michigan Week Exchange, and Monster Mayhem that we do with Whirlidurb.
  • These matching events account for about 125 of our collaborations annually.

CAPspace Collaborations

Another major source of partner classes is the Collaborations option in CAPspace (create or search collaborations).

  • I post 7-10 collaborations a year looking for partners for various ideas by my teachers. On most of those I need one or two partners.
  • I have a few schools – maybe 5 out of 70 – where the teachers respond to collaborations on CAPspace or post their own collaborations. In most cases they then ask for help on connecting the videoconference.
  • These account for maybe 20-30 of our collaborations annually.

Asking VC Friends

The final major way that I find partner class is to ask friends.

  • For some projects (like EcoConversations), I have a list a people we partner with every year.
  • For some projects, I pick someone I know at a regional level (i.e. Dallas ISD) and try to get all the partners from that region. It makes it super easy because then I don’t have to do any test calls!
  • For some teacher ideas that are just one or two connections here and there, I may also ask friends. I also have some VC friends who email me and ask for one or two partners for this or that idea.
  • These types of collaborations probably account for another 30-40 collaborations annually.

My Email List

Want to get on my email list? Sometimes I use that advertise for partners just for people interested in specific projects that we run (MysteryQuests, etc.). Sign up here.

What about you? Do you use more than one method to find partners for your teachers? Which works best in which situation? Do you have a favorite method? Please comment!

About Janine Lim

Janine Lim, PhD, currently serves as associate dean for online higher education in the School of Distance Education at Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, MI. She and her team support over 200 online courses, provide training for faculty teaching online, and work with the campus infrastructure support of online learning. Her department also provides educational technology and Moodle support for faculty and students. In addition, Janine is responsible for the faculty and courses of the Consortium of Adventist Colleges and Universities. Janine has taught over 15 unique graduate educational technology classes online numerous times over the past 15 years, with some classes attracting participants from all over the world. Her undergraduate teaching includes social media courses for communication and digital media majors. Janine has served on the board of the United States Distance Learning Association since April 2015. Prior to her work at Andrews University, Janine coordinated distance education for 22 K12 school districts in southwest Michigan for 14 years. In that position, as one of the co-founders of TWICE, Michigan’s K12 Videoconferencing Organization, Janine has spearheaded popular international K12 videoconference projects such as Read Around the Planet and MysteryQuest. While still serving on the board of TWICE, she was instrumental in designing and implementing the CAPspace website for collaborative videoconference projects. Janine also served on a team of Michigan educational technology trainers providing a workshop called ATA Technology Academy. Her current online learning research interests include successful teacher behaviors, quality online discussions, and student activity patterns in self-paced courses.
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