You know when, at the start of the project, you have gut feeling that it’s going to be great. Well, that’s the feeling we got when New Jersey City University proposed that it should host the 2015 Faculty Best Practices showcase. Our NJCU colleagues: Dr. Chris Shamburg, Professor and Coordinator of Doctoral Program in NJCU Educational Technology Leadership and Graduate Program in Educational Technology, and Dr. Laura Zieger, Chairperson and Professor of Educational Technology and School Library Media, were immediately on board to strategize logistics of the spring event. Eager collaborators and excellent hosts.

Dr. Etienne Wenger-Trayner, nationally renowned educator, was the key note speaker. His talk on “Learning in landscapes of practice” was insightful and anecdotal. Members of our Academic Technology Group, part of EDge.Networks, use Etienne teaching modules for their technology innovations. Ken Ronkowitz of NJIT told me enthusiastically that Etienne’s mode of teaching is included in the presentation that Ken gave later on at the showcase.

The IGNITE session that followed after Etienne’s talk was as informative as it was lively. Fran Moran, Chris Shamburg, Laura Zieger, and Deborah Nagler of NJCU, Martin Hoffman of Burlington Community College, and Tina Zappile of Stockton University were each given 5 minutes, 20 slides to present their topic. Linda Feeney of Stockton was the able moderator.

It was Laura’s first IGNITE session which she found to be interesting. But her highest compliment was saved for us.

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NJCU wanted the opportunity to honor Marie Fosello, one of the early adapters to technology and teaching, with the NJCU Trailblazer Award. NJEDge also acknowledged Marie with our 2015 Award for Excellence. This was a nice moment that made the showcase like a family gathering, a very large family gathering.

Chris says that NJEDge really knows how to put on a showcase, and we do! Corrine Statia, our event planner, was on call like a doctor. She was superb in coordinating all the logistics and solving problems even before the rest of us knew there might be one. Jennifer Geretz made sure our affiliate partners, Bright Space (D2L), MRA International and ePlus, had prominent exhibit space. Adrian Levins and Bridget Trapanese manned the registration desk. Not easy when there are 160 attendees. Onaje Raab was our videographer. He managed six cameras at the same time.

The robitification sessions from NJCU were astounding. The university leads in technology in teaching and learning with robots. Posters were set out in a long stretch from the lobby to the cafeteria where we had lunch. Mary Chinery of Georgian Court and Michael Bieber of NJIT were the “secret” evaluators. Without telling the presenters that they were judging their work on scholarship, creativity and delivery, the two worked from end to end diligently speaking to each of the poster presenters. Linda Beninghove of Stevens Institute of Technology and Leonid Rabinovich of NJCU were the winners of the poster contest. They will be attending the 2015 NJEDge Annual Conference as NJEDge honored guests.

The evaluations on the breakout sessions have all been good to outstanding. The NJEDge App is really helpful in this regard. No more paper evaluations and no more “lost” paper evaluations.

Presenters were thrilled with the facilities and the attendance to their sessions. Depending on the size of the room, the number of participants ranged from 24 to 15

If the showcase is any measure of retention then certainly it has found a colleague/fan in Dr. Patricia Kahn. Patty, formerly of Brookdale and Montclair, is now Assistant Vice President for Technology Systems at the College of Staten Island, and she attended the showcase with some of her CUNY colleagues because she wanted them to see what New Jersey educators are doing. Peer sharing and peer review are ingredients for a successful professional development event.