Session 3: Who Are Our Students?

Mort introduces Norman Aitken, Deputy Provost at UMASS.

Norman begins the session by asking participants to divide up into a number of small groups by educational level: K12 and college.

He asks the K12 groups (composed of Curriculum Scholars) to consider the following two questions: What should college educators know about the students they will receive over the next four to five years? From their perspective, what is it college educators are doing wrong?

He asks the college groups to consider the following questions: How extensive is active teaching at your home institutions? What can college administrators do to support active teaching/learning?

After approximately 10 minutes of small group discussion, Norman asks participants to reconvene in the larger group and report on their conversations.

According to the Curriculum Scholars, college faculty should know that: According to college faculty: Norman then introduces a video showcasing efforts at UMASS to incorporate student-active learning. Although UMASS is not a guiding light in active learning, according to Norman, it is moving in that direction. The two examples in the video-one from an introductory biology course, the other Introduction to Macroeconomics-suggest how active learning can take place in large classes at state universities.

At the conclusion of the 20-minute video, participants discuss the meaning of "active learning." Norman suggests that active learning is anything other than lecture-in other words, not passive. Students participate in the learning process by 1) stating the ideas they're trying to learn, 2) laboratory work, and 3) talking with other students. Other participants suggest a continnum of learning: passive-active-engaged-investment, and that we must go beyond "active learning" in the sense defined by Norman.

Following this conversation, Mort reminds participants of the goals of STEMTEC, discussed in greater detail at the May 3 meeting. He also reminds curriculum teams of their charge during the course of the two-week workshop.

The session concludes at 2:30. After a half-hour break, curriculum teams meet separately for approximately 2 hours to discuss their particular goals and strategies.

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