An Overview of Some Faculty-Driven Projects
* THE = Teaching Highlighting Engagement *
The Concept of THE Classroom
The Classroom initiative is unique in a couple of ways.
Primarily, THE Classroom is designed around student collaboration. The space, furniture, and technology all support and enhance this approach. The instructors teaching in this space design their classes to take advantage of the collaborative nature. Some are not as technology oriented and will focus on the collaborative design of THE Classroom furniture.
Additionally, THE Classroom is intended to be an active site for robust faculty professional development. One table is reserved in THE Classroom for visitors to drop in and visit at virtually any time. All faculty members teaching in THE Classroom agree to let anyone drop in except for a few blackout days when assessment takes place.
The location of THE Classroom also ensures high visibility.
The Concept of THE Studio
The idea behind this proposal is using technology, unique furniture, and an existing unusual and underutilized space to help create a collaborative, innovative faculty space. The equipment requested for this project will be implemented with a focus on the following areas:
- Collaboration between faculty members that helps shift the classroom from a traditional lecture design to a student centered, collaborative design.
- Creating a space that allows and encourages faculty collaboration across the disciplines.
- Fashioning a viable, sustainable method for potentially providing professional development opportunities for full-time and adjunct instructors.
- Offering a collaborative, supportive space for those instructors interested in shifting their teaching style to more of a cooperative format.
- Creating a flexible workspace that encourages instructor collaboration while doubling as a space for instructors to hold office hours, innovative sessions, etc.
This equipment will be used to create an innovative, collaborative space that we have termed “THE (Technology Highlighting Excellence) Studio.” THE Studio is an active collaborative environment wherein a core group of faculty members collaborate and explore pushing the boundaries of their classrooms and their instruction. THE Studio is reminiscent of a studio for artists or musicians where disparate individuals collaborate (think “inspire each other” or “jam together”) and create something new or more substantial than would be possible by themselves. A central notion to this space is that lecture takes a back seat to collaboration. Also, professional development and effective learning practices are both central to the concept. The core group residing in THE Studio also encourages and facilitates collaboration with other faculty members across disciplines. The equipment helps make this a welcoming and encouraging space.
The Consociates Project
This proposal is unique in nature and broad in scope. The concept includes a unique combination of technology, course design, and existing spaces to create a collaborative, interdisciplinary, instructional initiative. The project was implemented with a focus on the following areas:
- Shifting away from traditional course delivery to a learner-centered, collaborative design focused on student engagement, success and completion.
- Creating courses with interdisciplinary overlap in the areas of English, Government, Live Entertainment Technology, and Sociology. Fall 2014 was the pilot semester. Spring 2015 was the second semester of the project. We intend to continue the project after the initial, one-year grant period ends. The plans call for recruiting one more potential interdisciplinary consociate for the second semester and then to add other consociates/disciplines in subsequent semesters.
- Creating courses that have shared themes and common meeting times. Larger spaces will be used to accommodate several sections at once for a shared meaningful instructional experience.
- Offering a collaborative, supportive, technologically flexible space for instructors interested in shifting their teaching style to a more cooperative format.
- Implementing courses that offer students imbedded instructional support. Writing specialists, subject matter experts, tutors, etc. will participate in the project. They will be available before class, after class and during the shared instructional experiences.
- Provoking a culture in which best instructional practices related to student engagement, success and completion are encouraged, garnered, and shared among disciplines. Presentations about this project are encouraged.
The Suburban Professor~ A sociology and psychology professor who has committed to teaching his classes using aliens, zombies, comic book heroes, and technology. All of this helps with his long term immersive study of geek culture. He also likes pie.