Published in @OTESSAjournal, this paper by @dmichelej @HawazenR @lisamptaylor #LesBairstow @verenanz reports on the design, development, implementation, & evaluation of the Quality Graduate Supervision MOOC #QGSMOOC in Winter 2020 at @UCalgary via the perspectives & voices of graduate supervisors. Tenure track academic faculty balance many diverse roles & responsibilities – The Quality Graduate Supervision MOOC offers flexible & accessible online faculty development for both new and experienced graduate supervisors to develop their practice. We used a design-based research approach to develop the #QGSMOOC an open and online environment that supports supervisors’ learning within a community of practice focused on effective supervision.

The rapid and widespread pivot to online graduate supervision during the pandemic created a pressing need in higher education for online faculty development for supervisors across disciplines – our QGSMOOC meets that need. #QGSMOOC participants value active engagement with diverse colleagues from across campus in forums, through videos, via interaction & engagement in webinars, exposure to different perspectives, approaches, & strategies for mentoring graduate students. Engaging in the #QGSMOOC faculty learning experience reinforced ideas supervisors already had about effective supervision, such as the need to be aware of students’ experiences and listening for how best to provide support. We found that supervisors appreciated becoming more aware of diverse images of effective supervision by engaging in conversations with colleagues and they increased the number of strategies and ideas they could draw upon in working well with their graduate students. In the MOOC, supervisors shared effective strategies for communication, establishing expectations, promoting wellness in graduate school, and initiating conversations about career interests and non-traditional career options in webinars and online discussions.

Experienced supervisors realize they are supervising diverse students in changing contexts; the community of practice established in the MOOC confirmed that every supervisor has valuable experience and expertise to share while learning new ideas about supervision from interdisciplinary peers. Supervisors made explicit commitments to finding balance in excellence & wellness as part of their revised supervision philosophy. “Communication and self-care are the cogent lessons I have learnt and will be incorporating into my own style of graduate supervision”. What supervisors valued most in the #QGSMOOC were opportunities to engage thoughtfully with interdisciplinary colleagues who brought different perspectives, approaches, and strategies for supervising and mentoring graduate students to the learning community. Supervisors emphasize the flexibility and accessibility of the MOOC worked well for their learning even with their busy schedules, and especially when work and home lives were disrupted by the pandemic and the pivot to fully online engagements.

An exciting benefits from faculty engaging in the #QGSMOOC during the pandemic pivot were that several supervisors indicated they could adapt quickly & smoothly to their remote teaching duties given their first-hand experiences as an online learner in the course. The #QGSMOOC offered graduate supervisors an opportunity to grow & develop their online supervision practice through online interdisciplinary engagements and connected learning outside of regular departmental exchanges.

The #QGSMOOC increased supervisors’ understanding of the value & importance of establishing good communication from the start of a relationship with students & the value of active listening to discern student needs and provide learner-centered and tailored advice.  Learning in the #QGSMOOC meant supervisors set in motion strategies for their own and their students’ wellness and self-care to balance and accompany their focus on excellence.

Our research indicates the community of practice within the #QGSMOOC influenced graduate supervisors’ awareness, collective knowledge building, goal setting, and actions for graduate supervision practice.  To date 266 academics from across disciplines at six Canadian Universities have enrolled in the Quality Graduate Supervision MOOC @UCalgary @AthabascaU @ULeth @UofRegina @BrandonUni @queensu #QGSMOOC.  Our #QGSMOOC offers engaging & impactful transdisciplinary learning experience, transcends disciplinary & faculty silos, enables diverse faculty to strengthen the quality of supervision collaboratively and collectively for graduate students. @dmichelej @HawazenR @lisamptaylor #LesBairstow @verenanz are grateful to the supervisors who shared their experiences and insights in our design-based research on the #QGSMOOC!

This Supervision Blog is part of the Quality Graduate Supervision project website.