Faculty Learning Communities: AY 2014-15
The Center for Teaching and Learning will be offering four unique FLCs during the 2014-15 Academic Year. Participating in an FLC requires a commitment to meet together 10-12 times (about every 2-3 weeks) during the Academic Year (Aug 17-May 16), as well as to read, collaborate, and make progress on individual projects between meetings. Each participant will actively contribute as responders, facilitators, peer reviewers and experts in selected areas of teaching and learning. Faculty should consider their other professional commitments before applying.
AY 2014-15 FLC Topics (please scroll to see all descriptions)
Registrations are open for the following faculty learning communities:
- Cross-Disciplinary Experimentation, Innovation, and Intellectual Risk-taking (CEII) – Facilitator: Dr. Jamie Warner, 2014-2015 Hedrick Teaching Fellow
Applications are due by noon on September 5, 2014 (FLC APPLICATION PAGE)
How do you encourage students who have been introduced to learning through nonstop, high stakes, standardized testing to be creative in their thinking? One of Marshall’s official student learning outcomes is a domain called “Creative Thinking,” in which students are supposed to learn to work with ambiguities and possibilities, embrace risk, and experiment with innovation. That sounds like a great learning outcome regardless of discipline: we all want innovative doctors and nurses looking for better treatments, politicians who think outside the box to solve problems, imaginative businesspeople creating products to make our lives better, and artists, musicians, and writers who push us to reexamine ourselves and our world. But, as the designers of courses in which we are supposed to teach students to think creatively as part of our university mission, how exactly do faculty do this work on the ground – at the level of writing the syllabus, designing assignments, and thinking about grades?
Can something like creativity be taught?
In the fall semester of 2014, members of this learning community will look at both philosophical and research based texts that suggest that thinking “creatively” is just as much about the structure of the incentives and assessments of the classroom as it is about the individual personalities of the students. In the spring, members will experiment and write up their own classroom attempts to “nudge” students into doing imaginative work, using pop culture, non-traditional assignments or innovative grading schemes. The goal of each member is to disseminate the results of their own experimentation, innovation, and risk-taking at the 2015 and/or 2016 iPED conferences at Marshall University, other professional venues, and/or in publication form.
- High Impact Practices (HIPs) – Facilitators: Karen McComas & April Fugett
Applications are due by noon on September 5, 2014 (FLC APPLICATION PAGE)
High impact practices (HIPs) are pedagogical strategies that encourage learners to engage with the subject matter; thus, providing opportunities for deeper learning to occur. Students at Marshall University are already exposed to many types of HIPs including: writing intensive courses, service learning courses, undergraduate research experiences, opportunities to study abroad, and capstone experiences. Another kind of HIP that has received much attention in higher education is the act of viewing classes as learning communities that are populated by both students and teachers. “The key goals for learning communities are to encourage integration of learning across courses and to involve students with ‘big questions’ that matter beyond the classroom. Students take two or more linked courses as a group and work closely with one another and with their professors. Man learning communities explore a common topic and/or common readings through the lenses of different disciplines (Kuh & O’Donnell, 2013).”
Members of this FLC will explore and evaluate current best practices relating to the construct of ‘linked classes as learning community.’ Additionally, members will identify globally and locally relevant “big questions;” create “hubs” (potential learning communities) that target integrative thinking and are organized around those “big questions;: develop a cross-disciplinary course plan within a chosen hub and implement that plan during Fall 2015; and, disseminate the results of the FLC’s individual and collaborative work in a variety of venues, including the 2015 and/or 2016 iPED Teaching Conference.
Source: Ensuring Quality & Taking High-Impact Practices to Scale by George D. Kuh and Ken O’Donnell, with Case Studies by Sally Reed. (Washington, DC: AAC&U, 2013).
Registrations for these faculty learning communities are now closed:
- Pedagogy of Undergraduate Research (PUR) - Facilitator: Karen McComas
An ever-growing number of academics…see undergraduate research as the pedagogy for the twenty-first century (Dotterer, 2002, p. 81).
Undergraduate research as a pedagogy is a way to combine teaching and research to promote sustainable and transferable learning. As a pedagogy, undergraduate research provides an authentic kind of active engagement with the content. Through this engagement, students acquire the habits of mind and practices of a discipline’s researchers by: learning disciplinary methods and processes, articulating real problems, implementing a research plan, and disseminating their findings. In other words, students become scholars by doing what scholars do.
Members of this FLC will review the literature to explore and evaluate current best practices in undergraduate research as pedagogy, author/co-author a best practices publication and pilot one new practice in the classroom, study the outcomes of the pilot, and disseminate the results of the FLC’s individual and collaborative work.
PUR FLC Schedule: September 11 & 25, October 9 & 23, November 13, and December 4 (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm) | OM 109 – Teaching Commons
- Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) – Facilitator: Karen McComas
The scholarship of teaching movement encourages teachers to approach challenging questions concerning their teaching with the same critical intellectual energy that they use when conducting their disciplinary research (Savory, Burnett, & Goodburn, 2007, p. 3).
Scholarly teaching refers to the intellectual tasks associated with the work of teaching, such as designing courses, facilitating classroom discussions, writing outcomes and syllabi, or evaluating programs. To subject that work to inquiry is the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Members of this FLC will develop a body of scholarship which is “public, susceptible to critical review and evaluation, and accessible for exchange and use by other members of one’s community” (Schulman, 1998). Specifically, members (individual or collaborative researchers) will formulate an inquiry question, design a way to assess the focus of that question, evaluate the results and draw conclusions, and disseminate findings of their inquiry. NOTE: Membership in this faculty learning community is for a period of two academic years.
SoTL FLC Schedule: September 9 & 23, October 7 & 21, November 11, and December 2 (8:30 am – 10:30 am) | OM 109 – Teaching Commons
- Visual Learning and Thinking – Facilitator: April Fugett
What are the merits of teaching with visual materials, or of asking students to produce arguments in a visual vernacular or to visualize intractable concepts with the mind’s eye? What visual technologies and resources (analog or digital) are available locally and globally? How might one’s own teaching practice be improved through the strategic practice of visual thinking?
Members of this FLC will first work toward arriving at a new and unexpected perspective on a well-worn teaching problem, dilemma or question through visual means. Reflection on that process will drive individual or cooperative projects that enable members to 1) investigate the cognitive benefits of visualization and 2) experiment with classroom pedagogies and resources related to visual thinking, including infographics, Prezi, sketch notes/visual notes, conceptual structures, TED Talks, pixilation, coordinate axes, GIS mapping, Pixton and other similar “comics” apps, word clouds, the fine arts as metaphor, mental doodling & visual minute papers, etc. The learning community will also consider the different contexts in which visual methods are used in classes and in scholarly work in general, and disseminate the results of the FLC’s individual and collaborative work.
VLT FLC Schedule: September 8 & 22, October 6 & 27, November 10, and December 1 (2:00 pm – 4:00 pm) | OM 109 – Teaching Commons
Dotterer, R. L. (2002). Student-faculty collaborations, undergraduate research, and collaboration as an administrative model. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 90, 81-89.
Savory, P., Burnett, A. N., & Goodburn, A. (2007). Inquiry into the college classroom: A journey toward scholarly teaching. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc.
Shulman, L. S. (1998). Course anatomy: The dissection and analysis of knowledge through teaching. In P. Hutchings (ed.), The course portfolio: How faculty can examine their teaching to advance practice and improve student learning. Washington, D.C.: American Association for Higher Education.