We invite individual applications for a 16-person, funded faculty group that will work to revise one of each member’s courses, enhancing their creativity, interactivity, rigor, and skill building in keeping with research on how people learn. In brief: research on teaching and learning indicates that active classes that ask students to grapple with authentic problems and questions, give prompt facilitative feedback, and align assignments and activities tightly and transparently with faculty goals have the potential to increase student learning. But how do we achieve this as individual faculty members—especially considering the particular strengths and challenges of our disciplines, classrooms, and students? The group seeks to provide an intriguing and supportive framework to help each participant find compelling answers to this question.
We welcome faculty members from across the curriculum who would like space, support, and camaraderie as they experiment with their courses, perhaps shifting some lecture time to participatory activities designed to boost critical thinking; or building peer-learning frameworks to enhance students’ sense of ownership of course material; or exploring what technology can do to enliven the classroom and serve as a vehicle for class interaction and creative production—we’ll work with all the group’s members to find strategies that appeal to them. Faculty applying for College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) “Renaissance” grants to improve General Education teaching are urged to apply for this opportunity as well, as are interested faculty from UO’s other schools and colleges.
The working group idea was inspired by the UO Steelcase LearnLab Pilot Project, which is building four technology-rich, pod-style classrooms on campus, all of which will be available beginning Winter 2014. The flexible arrangement of these learning spaces fosters student participation and collaboration. Faculty teaching in the first UO LearnLab during Fall 2013 remarked that they were able to better engage their students than in a traditional classroom thanks to the team-based classroom layout, upgraded furniture and display technologies.
The Working Group will explore the kinds of teaching that are possible in these active-learning spaces and, more broadly, what sophisticated, active pedagogies can look like in every classroom and lecture hall on campus. Participants in the Working Group will have a chance to try teaching in the LearnLab and experiment with new pedagogies and technologies that are applicable in any classroom.
Benefits of participation:
Academic Affairs, CAS and Undergraduate Studies have pooled resources to provide a $1,000 stipend to each participant. Faculty will receive individual and small-group teaching support and a flexible framework to explore and achieve goals they themselves identify; they also will have the scaffolding of readings and events, and a way to stay abreast of and contribute to timely campus conversation about undergraduate education. Working Group faculty participants will benefit from priority scheduling in the new LearnLab classrooms.
How to apply:
Participants will complete a simple, online application due Monday, January 13th that asks for a current course description, course learning objectives, and a “I wish I could” segment in which faculty articulate the particular challenges of teaching the course and the kinds of activities and classroom climate they would like to more fully create. The group is open to tenure-line faculty and full-time career instructors. We will inform applicants of their status in late January 2014.
The group will:
The Working Group on Active Teaching and Learning will have an inaugural two-hour meeting during Winter term to discuss a short reading from two-time Harvard President Derek Bok’s Higher Education in America (2013). Then across Winter and Spring terms, participants will attend two of TEP’s “Think Small, Teach Big” events; participants also will attend one small-group brainstorming session with other faculty, TEP and UO educational technologists, all whom will consider both traditional and technology-aided strategies for meeting each faculty member’s expressed goals. These activities would require about a five- to six-hour time commitment across Winter and Spring terms.
By June, participants will have revised their applications to identify an experiment in teaching they’d like to focus on. The full group will re-convene for another reading and roundtable discussion; then the group will have three days of hands-on support to make their experiments a reality (June 18, 19, and 20). Faculty will develop shared strategies for assessing the success of their experiments and may have the opportunity to teach a 30-minute lesson as from their revised courses during summer 2014 IntroDUCKtion sessions to help initiate new students and families into UO’s teaching and learning culture.
The Working Group on Active Teaching and Learning is hosted by UO Libraries Center for Media and Educational Technology (CMET), the Yamada Language Center, and the Teaching Effectiveness Program.
The UO Steelcase LearnLab Pilot Project is sponsored by Steelcase Inc. and UO Libraries Center for Media and Educational Technology, Academic Affairs, the Committee for Academic Infrastructure, Academic Extension, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Yamada Language Center.