January 24: Teaching Goals: What are the most important goals for you as a teacher? How do you attempt to meet these goals in your courses? Fellows will work alone and in groups to develop a common set of teaching goals that we will refer to throughout the semester.
February 5: Active Learning: Faculty often refer to “active learning”, but what are students actually doing when they are learning actively as opposed to passively? We will model “think-pair-share” to consider on this question and discuss a video clip of Jose Mestre’s physics class at Umass in which 300 students work on problems in small groups. Blooms taxonomy of higher order thinking will also be a focus for discipline teams.
February 19: Informal Cooperative Learning: What are the essential attributes of cooperative learning? We will model another active learning approach to address this question and discuss how Lauren Brewer, a mathematics professor, uses groupwork in her smaller classes.
March 5: Formal Cooperative Learning (Problem Based Learning): PBL is a specific type of formal cooperative learning in which students assume specific roles and work on cases or problems. We will model PBL with a global warming case. Fellows will also begin reporting on active learning approaches they are trying out in their classes.
March 26: Alternatives to traditional tests: Changing how faculty test their students’ knowledge is one of the most challenging aspects of student active pedagogy. We will consider alternative to traditional tests by modeling and discussing the Pyramid Exam. This assessment tool involves individual as well as groupwork and tests for students’ abilities to address complicated set of ideas.
April 9: Instructional Technology: Fellows will lead this session on use of instructional technology for active learning.
April 23: Critical, Higher Order, & Expert Thinking: Faculty often list “critical thinking” as a core course goal but have difficulty defining what this means. Fellows will work in discipline teams to identify attributes of higher order thinking and approaches that help students develop critical thinking skills.
May 7: Plans for Course redesign: Fellows will work in discipline groups to further develop plans for reworking a designated course.