Topic Outlines for Courses Beginning January 26

“Incorporating Active Learning Strategies in the College Classroom”
“Learning Communities: A User’s Guide”

“Incorporating Active Learning Strategies in the College Classroom”

Week 1: Getting Started: What is Active Learning?
· Creating a homepage and introduction exercises
· Discussing our past experiences with active learning
· Readings: “What is Active Learning and Why is it Important?”

Week 2: What Does Active Learning Look Like? Part 1
· Readings:
A Brief Summary of Best Practices in Teaching”, “A Model of Active Learning” by L. Dee Fink, “Guidelines for Active Learning in the College Classroom”
· Discussion themes: self-assessing the degree to which our teaching strategies promote active learning

Week 3: What Does Active Learning Look Like? Part 2
· Readings: “Active Learning Strategies” (strategy examples and descriptions), “Active Learning” (strategy examples and descriptions)
· Discussion themes: Within our academic fields, which topics or units best lend themselves to active learning strategies; which strategies would be most readily useful in your courses?

Week 4: What Does Active Learning Look Like? Part 3
· Readings: Case Studies, Problem-Based Learning, and Collaborative Group Learning In-Depth; “Getting Students Involved”
· Activity: Select a unit from a course that you usually teach using more passive methods and prepare to adapt it for teaching via case study, PBL or collaborative group learning.

Week 5: What’s Holding Us Back? Common Roadblocks to Implementation
· Readings: “Navigating the Bumpy Road to Student-Centered Instruction”
· Activity: continued adaptation of unit to active learning format
· Discussion themes: Which of the roadblocks is in our way? Posting and commenting on our adapted units.

Week 6: Quick Fixes—Start Using Active Learning Strategies Today!
· Readings: “Leading Discussions”, “Concept Maps”, “Some Simple Paired Activities”, “How to Ask Questions in the Classroom”, “Metacognitive reflection”
· Discussion themes: Reflect on your experience with any of these less complex active learning strategies—both as a learner and as an instructor; choose two of these less complicated strategies to infuse into a course you are currently teaching and describe how you will go about it.

“Learning Communities: A User’s Guide”

Week 1: Getting Started: What are Learning Communities?
· Creating a homepage and introduction exercises
· Survey: Why do you want to start a learning community? (To be compared with results of a survey conducted by Evergreen University Learning Communities Project)
· Readings: “The Challenge of Learning Communities as a Growing Movement”, “Beyond a Definition of Learning Communities”
· Discussion themes: Our definitions and experience with learning communities

Week 2: Why Create Learning Communities?
· Readings: “The Rationale for Learning Communities”, “Frequently Cited Goals of Learning Communities”, “Learning Communities: Reweaving the Culture of Disconnection”, “Ascending Steps of Learning Community Goals and Impacts”
· Discussion themes: What do you hope will happen by establishing a successful LC? Addressing what matters in college.

Week 3: Exploring Various Learning Community Models
· Readings: “Five Models of Integrated Learning Communities”, excerpts from the National Learning Communities Project
· Discussion themes: Which of the models interests you for implementation at your institution? (linked/paired courses, freshman interest groups, learning clusters, federated learning communities, coordinated studies programs)

Week 4: Interdisciplinary Collaboration Around a Theme
· Readings: “Faculty Collaboration: Perceptions on Teaching in a Learning Community”,
“Learning Community Activities and Direct Benefits”,
· Activity: Small interdisciplinary groups exploring ways that their content knowledge could be united around a common theme
· Discussion themes: analysis of collaborative process; faculty roles in a learning community; where do courses overlap?

Week 5: If You Build It, Will They Come?
· Reading: “Steps for Initiating a Learning Community”
· Survey: If the learning community is intended to serve student sub-populations, which populations are those? (to be compared with Evergreen University survey results)
· Activity: Continued from Week 4, with examination of student populations, pedagogical strategies, connections among students and faculty, other goals, assignments as assessments
· Discussion themes: sharing and commenting on the results of group activities

Week 6: Sustainability Issues
· Readings: “Six Lessons Learned About Organizational Change”, “Planning Questions for Developing Learning Community Initiatives”
· Discussion themes: additional considerations when planning LCs, including: communication, marketing, institutionalization, assessment and feedback, resources needed for implementation

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