IT Innovation Contest

A team-based contest for creative IT solutions

Transforming Teaching and Learning through Technology: Faculty Development Virtual Communities

Proposal Status: 

Description of project

Educators have long recognized the potential value of technologies as tools for improving teaching and learning. However, the integration of technology into teaching and learning is not a simple matter and can be particularly challenging on a decentralized campus.  In this proposal, we ask how to help faculty to develop their teaching with technologies.


One strategy that is deemed promising for promoting faculty to adopt technology for teaching and learning is professional development through the fostering of community of practice.  Here, rather than the traditional model of workshop training, providing faculty with a community will allow them to learn as a group and will provide them with continued support for adopting and utilizing technologies as part of their teaching practice.


The primary goal of Faculty Development Virtual Communities is to provide a safe, supportive, online community wherein faculty across diverse disciplines can interact and share knowledge of incorporating pedagogy, technology, and areas of expertise to explore new approaches to teaching.


Specific objectives:

  • Provide a virtual space for faculty to ask for help, share ideas, and discuss best practices anytime and anywhere
  • Provide a platform for sharing information and resources
  • Promote collaboration among faculty with similar interests and teaching goals
  • Provide a public, virtual space to showcase faculty projects with technology to encourage uptake among other faculty
  • Offer real-time information on campus-wide technology policy and services
  • Offer faculty continued technological support and information on best practices in the field of education technology



Faculty Development Virtual Communities is a forum-based system which will be developed based on Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework (Mishra& Koehler, 2007). This framework emphasizes the importance of simultaneously integrating technology, pedagogy, and content expertise to guide professional development.


Impact on UCSF's mission and/or community:  

This program is aligned with UCSF’s mission to provide superior health sciences training and education by supporting faculty and students with access to advanced educational technologies for teaching and learning.


List of team members and their roles (recruiting programmers)

  • Xinxin Huang, Project lead
  • Sonia Alam,  Project coordinator
  • Annette Carley, Faculty advisor
  • Currently recruiting one or two programmers who has experience of PHP and mysql programming



Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017–1054.


A certainly laudable goal of dissemination of educational technical solutions, however, it appears that Salesforce Chatter has the capability of accomplishing the specific objectives. What are the advantages of using the TPACK framework vs. implementing Chatter for this purpose?

Hi Dr. Terrazas, Thank you for your comments on our proposal. While we recognize that Salesforce Chatter contains some capabilities necessary for our proposal, there are several unique requirements of our model that Chatter cannot accommodate. Our model would be open to the whole UCSF community and would be forum-based using an asynchronous discussion board format (where we view Chatter as more of a social networking model). The platform we envision would host discussions and forums in which faculty could participate, with the possibility of hosting private group discussions as well. Importantly, these discussions would be moderated by a moderator, whose role would also be to archive discussions over a several year period. This archiving feature would allow faculty to search for past discussions. To our knowledge, such features are not available through Chatter. The TPACK framework would form the broader categories of the discussions. However, there may be a way to combine our model with that of Chatter and we intend to research this potential combination further. Thanks again.

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