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EIU Faculty Development and Innovation Center

Faculty Learning Community 

Online Learning Community (OLC)

AY: 2023-24
Second Thursday of the Month @ 3:00 pm – 3:45 pm
Microsoft Teams

Learning Community

A Faculty Learning Community[i] (FLC) is a peer-led group of faculty members who engage in active, collaborative programming, with a curriculum structured to provide encouragement, support, and reflection on teaching and learning.

Milton Cox[ii] established ten qualities necessary for community in FLCs, which includes safety and trust, openness, respect, responsiveness, collaboration, relevance, challenge, enjoyment, esprit de corps, and empowerment. (a description of these ten qualities is listed in Appendix A). These are the same qualities that should steer this FDIC Faculty Learning Community. A copy of the Cox’s full article is available here.

As an FLC, there is an expectation that participants will be active and engaged and bring their experiences, interests, and curiosities to the group. There is an expectation that, as members of a community, OLC members will contribute and fortify a mutually beneficial program.

As shown in the diagrams to the right, a community includes people, a purpose, and a process. The purpose of the FLC, in the lower circle, is defined by the desired outcomes: a university-wide community of empowered faculty and staff interested in, and dedicated to, teaching and learning – in this case, it is focused on online teaching and learning.

The process should be collective and collaborative and involve all members of the community. Each session will include:

  • Tech Talk – the latest news on EdTech @ EIU (Julie Lockett)
  • Discussion Leader (OLC Member)
  • Topical content sourced and shared by community members
  • Q & A (everyone)

The people – the community members – are you, and the experience is what we can build together.

Our first meeting will be during the 2023 FDIC August Institute on Thursday August 10 at 3:00 pm. During this session, the FDIC staff will discuss this new orientation to the OLC, take questions and suggestions for monthly topics, and encourage members to volunteer to lead a discussion a topic of interest to them as it pertains to online teaching and learning.

We will continue to meet on the second Thursday of each month on Teams, while throughout the year engaging in conversation and community, information sharing and discussion using the chat function in Teams. The list of dates and tentative monthly topics are below.

[i] “Introduction to Faculty Learning Communities.” Milton D. Cox (2004), pp. 5-23 in Building Faculty Learning Communities, New Directions for Teaching and Learning, Number 97, M.D. Cox, and L. Richlin, eds.

[ii] “Introduction to Faculty Learning Communities.” Milton D. Cox (2004), pp. 5-23 in Building Faculty Learning Communities, New Directions for Teaching and Learning, Number 97, M.D. Cox, and L. Richlin, eds.

Tentative AY 2023-24 OLC Topics



Item / Topic


August 10, 2023

August Institute – New Year, New OLC!


First Day of Classes - August 21, 2023


September 14, 2023

Humanizing Online Courses



October 12, 2023

Perusall and Varying Assessments



November 9, 2023




January 11, 2024

Getting Started on the Right Foot



February 8, 2024

Inclusive Learning Online



March 14, 2024

Pedagogy Day 


April 11, 2024

Open Educational Resources (OER)



We hope you will consider joining us for this reinvented faculty learning community – the FDIC Online Learning Community.

Join the OLC

Go to to register and join the community! 



Dr. Michael Gillespie, Director
Faculty Development and Innovation Center 


Appendix A: Qualities Necessary for Community in FLCsi

  • Safety and trust. In order for participants to connect with one another, they must have a sense of safety and trust. This is especially true when participants reveal weaknesses in their teaching or ignorance of teaching processes or literature.
  • Openness. In an atmosphere of openness, participants can feel free to share their thoughts and feelings without fear of retribution.
  • Respect. In order to coalesce as a learning community, members need to feel that they are valued and respected as people. It is important for the university to acknowledge their participation by financially supporting community projects and participation at FLC topic-related conferences.
  • Responsiveness. Members must respond respectfully to one another, and the facilitator(s) must respond quickly to the participants. The facilitator should welcome the expression of concerns and preferences and, when appropriate, share these with individuals and the entire FLC.
  • Collaboration. The importance of collaboration in consultation and group discussion on individual members’ projects and on achieving community learning outcomes hinges on group members’ ability with and respond to one another. In addition, to individual projects, joint projects and presentations should be welcomed.
  • Relevance. Learning outcomes are enhanced by relating the subject matter of the FLC to the participants’ teaching, courses, scholarship, professional interests, and life experiences. All participants should be encouraged to seek out and share teaching and other real-life examples to illustrate these outcomes.
  • Challenge. Expectations for the quality of FLC outcomes should be high, engendering a sense of progress, scholarship value, and accomplishment. Sessions should include, for example, some in which individuals share syllabi and report on their individual projects.
  • Enjoyment. Activities must include social opportunities to lighten up and bond and should take place in invigorating environments. For example, a retreat can take place off-campus at a nearby country inn, state park, historic site, or the like.
  • Esprit de corps. Sharing individual and community outcomes with colleagues in the academy should generate pride and loyalty. For example, when the community makes a campus presentation, participants strive to provide an excellent session.
  • Empowerment. A sense of empowerment is both a crucial element and a desired outcome of participation in an FLC. In the construction of a transformative learning environment, the participants gain a new view of themselves and a new sense of confidence in their abilities. Faculty members leave their year of participation with better courses and a clearer understanding of themselves and their students. Key outcomes include scholarly teaching and contributions to the scholarship of teaching.

[1] “Introduction to Faculty Learning Communities.” Milton D. Cox (2004), pp. 5-23 in Building Faculty Learning Communities, New Directions for Teaching and Learning, Number 97, M.D. Cox, and L. Richlin, eds.

[1] “Introduction to Faculty Learning Communities.” Milton D. Cox (2004), pp. 5-23 in Building Faculty Learning Communities, New Directions for Teaching and Learning, Number 97, M.D. Cox, and L. Richlin, eds.

Related Pages

Contact Information

Dr. Michael Gillespie, Director, FDIC


Julie Lockett, Director of Learning Innovation


Kim Ervin
Instructional Designer


Faculty Development and Innovation Center

1105 Booth

David Smith
Instructional Support and Training Specialist


Keerthana Saraswathula
Instructional Support and Training Specialist


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