What is Digital Pedagogy Lab?
Digital Pedagogy Lab is an international professional development gathering for educators committed to critical pedagogy, digital pedagogy, and critical digital pedagogy. The Lab is a space for teachers, students, librarians, administrators, and technologists interested in inquiry, praxis, and social justice.
Digital Pedagogy Lab may look from all appearances to be a traditional professional development event replete with speakers and sessions. But in fact, the Lab is a classroom. Participants sign up for one track, focused on a topic specific to their research interests, teaching area, or imaginative impulses. Once in a track, attendees form a cohort and learn, collaborate, and teach each other for the entire duration of the Lab. We believe that when you create a space where people feel free to join, free to experiment, free to voice themselves, free to try, free to fail, free to succeed, free to change—and reinforce that space with a foundation of generosity, kindness, care, hospitality—you also create a space where the new, the inventive, the generative and creative—in other words, the necessary—can emerge.
What does my registration include?
Everyone registers for a single track (e.g., Intro, Inclusive Design, Open Pedagogy, etc.). In this track, you’ll join a small cohort of other educators for the full week, working and collaborating together on projects and discussions throughout. The event also includes keynotes, as well as special presentations by special guests, fellows, and others. The cohort model for tracks allows each participant to dig in deep on a single subject, exploring various areas of that track as fully as possible in a week’s time. This intimate model—even online—also provides a greater opportunity to connect with other educators who share interests, even as everyone is coming from different perspectives.
What do my registration fees pay for?
First and foremost, registration fees help support those who cannot afford to attend the Lab on their own. Access, inclusion, and diversity of participants is of utmost importance to us. We don't believe the Lab would be as productive, as collaborative, as creative and wonderful as it is if people were left out because they can't afford it. Every year, nearly 50% of participants enjoy the gathering at a discounted rate or for free. Registration fees help support fellows, scholars, and other special guests at the event as well.
Additionally, the Lab has always made it a priority to compensate as generously as possible our faculty and keynotes. The effort that they dedicate to making the event a truly unique experience is a tremendous one, and compensation is one way to thank them for their work. While some events don't pay faculty (and many online events don't pay keynotes), we feel it's important to recognize the expertise, and the care and kindness they bring.
Why is Digital Pedagogy Lab online?
In 2020, the Lab moved online for the first time as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitality is central to the design of every Digital Pedagogy Lab event; and for us, welcomeness is the implementation of a comfortable, safe, challenging, caring, and responsive environment. What we found when we moved the Lab online was that more people could attend than ever before, opening access to new international colleagues and making the event that much richer for the diversity of participants. Because welcoming people to these discussions is foundational to the Lab, once those international doors were open, we would never dream of closing them. So from 2020 forward Digital Pedagogy Lab will be offered online.
How much time should I plan to commit each day?
Digital Pedagogy Lab is designed to be your event, and you should participate as best suits your intentions and hopes for the gathering. Some folks will do pre-reading, spend 20 hours throughout the week, and continue (and collaborate on) projects they begin during the week. However, not all participants will have that much time, and others will have more, so the event is designed to be flexible. As scholars of digital learning, we recognize that engaging online, amidst copious distractions, can be more demanding than engaging in person. We won’t be on-ground together, so jumping into class, collaborating with classmates from a distance, and feeling part of the event will require purposeful engagement.
Will activities be synchronous or asynchronous?
From our 20+ years working in digital and fully online environments, one thing is clear: working online is very different from working in person. This usually means that asynchronous activities tend to work better for people who may be attending the event from not only multiple time zones, but multiple continents. The primary interaction will be through asynchronous discussion and collaboration. So, while each teacher will make decisions about synchronous moments throughout the week, being “in class” at a certain time will not be required.
Will any elements be free and fully open-access?
Yes. Digital Pedagogy Lab will use a few different platforms to conduct the event online. For one, faculty will post materials, “lectures”, and more on an open access web site. In some cases, participants at the event will also post on that site. Everything on the Digital Pedagogy Lab event site will be open to the public. As well, keynotes will be open access.
Tracks will meet in a discussion platform, and may also utilize other collaborative platforms (e.g., Hypothes.is) depending on the preference of the instructor. These parts of the course will be for registered participants only, to honor the small cohort-based pedagogy of the event.
Will there be interactions between courses?
Every year at the Lab, some faculty decide to bring their cohorts together at choice moments to share information and to intersect around specific topics. These moments have always been really fruitful and engaging for participants in those courses. Faculty are not given direction on this, however, and so it’s up to them whether and how they create these intersections. We honor the idiosyncratic pedagogical approaches of the teachers we invite to join us, so there is a lot of variation from one track to the next.
Are students welcome to attend?
Yes! Students are always welcome and encouraged to attend the Lab. We are deeply interested in the perspectives of undergraduate and graduate students, and strongly encourage their participation. This is especially germane when a group from a single institution attends—bringing students to learn alongside faculty makes for a really meaningful experience for everyone.
How do I choose which track to join?
This is a perennial question at the Lab. Because we offer a wide variety of experiences across the event, the best way to determine which track to join is to read through course descriptions, look through recommended readings, and/or reach out to the instructors themselves. Some of the tracks circle around similar issues but approach those issues from different angles, so once you’ve narrowed to a couple topics, you may need to just trust your instincts when you decide.
Is there a way to register for multiple classes?
No. In order to honor the cohort-based pedagogy of the event, participants should plan to give their full attention to the track they choose. That said, some materials from other courses will be openly accessible, so you will definitely have opportunities to look in on what’s underway in other classes.
What if I change my mind?
If you decide you would prefer to take a different track, you are free to switch at any time before the event begins (as long as tracks aren’t full). Once we’re underway, if you believe there’s a better choice, you may also switch then, with the caveat that cohort relationships form quickly in all track.
If you register and decide you need to withdraw, please refer to our refund policy on the home page.