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)
- 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.
- Problem Based Learning (PBL) – Facilitator: Sherri Smith
Problem Based Learning is “any learning environment where the problem drives the learning.” PBL forces students to learn the fundamental principles of the subject in the context of needing them to solve a problem (Woods, 1996). PBL utilizes robust professional problems, “not hypothetical case studies with neat, convergent outcomes. It is in the process of struggling with actual problems that students learn both content and critical thinking skills” (Stepian & Gallagher, 1993, p. 25).
Members of this FLC will review the literature to explore and evaluate current best practices in PBL, author/co-author a bank of PBL problem scenarios and pilot these in the classroom, study the outcomes of the pilot, and disseminate the results of the FLC’s individual and collaborative work.
- 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.
- Visual Learning and Thinking – Facilitator: Sherri Smith
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.
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.
Stepien, W.J. and Gallagher, S.A. (1993). “Problem-based Learning: As authentic as it gets.” Educational Leadership. 50(7) 25-28.
Woods, D.R. (1996). Problem-based learning: Helping your students gain the most from PBL. (3rd ed.). Retrieved from http://chemeng.mcmaster.ca/sites/default/files/media/PBL-chap1.pdf