Faculty Learning Communities
Faculty Learning Communities (FLC) at Indiana University Bloomington are cohorts of faculty members, often from different disciplines or fields of study, who ask questions about teaching and learning, try out teaching innovations, assess student learning, create new models of practice, and publish scholarship about their work. Each FLC shares a question, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, as members deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis. Like the Communities of Inquiry that are at the core of the CITL’s Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Program, FLCs work on an inquiry project to produce outcomes or products about teaching and learning. Faculty in such communities engage in scholarly teaching and student-centered learning, collaborating within a collegial framework that offers peer review and support.
As of August 2013, the CITL is accepting applications (download the application form as a Word document) from IUB faculty members who would like to participate in a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) for the 2013-14 academic year. This year's FLCs are "Fostering Classroom Inclusion," "Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM," and "Flipping the Class." FLC participants will receive a $750 stipend to experiment with new teaching and learning strategies in collaboration with other instructors. The application deadline is Friday, September 27.
Currently active FLCs:
- Paths to the Professoriate
- Intrinsic Motivation and Play FLC
- Engaging Differences Community of Practice
- Preparing Future Professors FLC
- Affective Learning Project
- History Learning Project
- Informatics Collegium
Past FLCs and related projects:
- iPad Mobile Tablet FLC
- Innovation in Large Courses FLC
- Freshman Learning Project
- Informatics New Pedagogies—New Technologies Project
Currently active FLCs:
Paths to the Professoriate
Graduate students in the Paths to the Professoriate learning community represent a broad array of disciplines including Anatomy Education, Applied Health Science, Education, English, and Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Studies. The participants have spent the fall semester in a critical examination of their discipline’s teaching strategies using texts such as How People Learn and Signature Pedagogiesto frame their discussions. They have also begun experimenting with classroom assessment techniques to address learning challenges in their course and to provide them with quantitative and qualitative measures of student success. On October 29, the graduate students had a special opportunity to meet with invited SOTL speaker, Scott Freeman (University of Washington), to discuss evidence-based methods of enhancing the learning of underrepresented students in the sciences. In the spring semester, the graduate students will engage in significant course-based investigations into the connection between their teaching methods and their students’ learning. Through their interdisciplinary work in the learning community, the graduate students are acquiring new teaching tools and multiple approaches to assessing learning.
Intrinsic Motivation and Play FLC
Is it true that we all have a “play module” in our brains? Can we find out how to tap into play to motivate students to learn? The Intrinsic Motivation and Play faculty learning community is exploring these questions with a view toward unlocking intrinsic motivation using concepts like competence, autonomy, and relatedness. With some background reading and discussion of games, engagement, happiness, and evolution, the participants have begun designing and testing games for their specific courses and students. Meetings are often spent playing, critiquing, and redesigning games, primarily board games and card games, to make sure they are addressing learning goals, but especially to make sure they are fun. Participants in the FLC span many disciplines from business to philosophy, from arts administration to math, from design to cognitive science.
Engaging Differences Community of Practice
The Engaging Differences CoP is using the Decoding the Disciplines method to explore bottlenecks regarding race and ethnicity, such as why Asian students participate differently in class or in teams, why students in an acting class question whether white people can play the roles of black people, or why Journalism students cannot find someone different from themselves to interview. The differences and intersections of these projects provide insights into how to teach the crucial operations of our various fields.
Preparing Future Professors Faculty Learning Community
Al Ruesink (Biology) and Katie Kearns
The Preparing Future Professors Faculty Learning Community, begun in 2004,is a forum for sharing and disseminating resources to enhance departmental pedagogy courses and an advocacy group for improving graduate teaching assistant (associate instructor or AI) preparation across campus. Co-facilitated by a faculty mentor and a member of the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, the learning community is composed of approximately 15 faculty members who mentor associate instructors in their disciplines. These faculty also are exceptionally active and knowledgeable in graduate instructor preparation both on campus and nationally The group meets monthly during the academic year to discuss recent local successes and to brainstorm and enact strategies to enhance AI preparation.
The collaboration between the CITL and the Preparing Future Professors Faculty Learning Community is helping to make the work of individual departments public. Members plan and facilitate the annual AI Supervisors' Meeting and contribute substantially to the campus publication "Associate Instructor Preparation for Teaching."
Affective Learning Project
Arlene Diaz, David Pace, Leah Shopkow (History), and Joan Middendorf
When an instructor challenges students’ preconceptions about history, it can hinder their learning. The Affective Learning Project focuses on affective barriers to clear historical thinking and argument, as identified in 24 extensive interviews with history faculty, which provided insights into the forms emotional resistance can take and how it can hinder learning.
Building from these interviews and Chi and Barton’s work, we defined the affective bottleneck as one rooted in student preconceptions about history. The simplified narratives students bring into the classroom often disrupt the learning process before it even begins by preventing students from thinking historically when classes emphasize complexity and ambiguity. Putting their preconceptions on the table—sometimes directly challenging them—is our working prescription for helping students move through the bottleneck.
History Learning Project
Arlene Diaz, David Pace, Leah Shopkow (History), and Joan Middendorf
This funded project is a collaboration with professors and graduate students in the history department , who have conducted experiments to:
Our goal is for Computer Science and Informatics instructors to move from traditional teaching methods to scholarly teaching and learning practices. Starting with the Decoding the Disciplines model (Pace and Middendorf, 2004) instructors became familiar with learner-centered teaching, including bottlenecks, methods for active engagement, and CATS (Angelo and Cross, 1993). In year two the fellows have become familiar with the field of SOTL, including methods and outcomes for conducting research on teaching and learning. To encourage further development of scholarly teaching, cement ideas, and increase ownership in the process, Collegium fellows will undertake SOTL studies in small groups in year three.
iPad Mobile Tablet Faculty Learning Community
Kate Ellis and Lisa Kurz
List of Participants
The iPad Mobile Tablet FLC, created in 2010, provides a selected group of faculty an opportunity to focus on how mobile tablets, specifically the Apple iPad, can enhance teaching and learning across a wide variety of disciplines. This FLC encourages faculty to explore how mobile tablet technology enhances their ability to accomplish tasks such as promoting student engagement in the classroom, the lab, or the field, as well as assisting small group collaboration in sharing ideas and doing research. The six faculty participants in the 2011-12 iPad FLC, who were selected from a large number of applicants, will share their results with the group as well as the larger IU community.
Innovation in Large Courses Faculty Learning Community
Lisa Kurz and Kathryn Propst
List of Participants
The Large Class FLC, a new FLC for the 2011-2012 academic year, is composed of faculty from a variety of disciplines who teach classes of 100 students or more at IUB. This FLC provides a supportive community for faculty who want to share ways to provide students with engaging and instructive active learning opportunities in large classes, and to handle the considerable demands and challenges of teaching a large class. They also advocate for teaching environments and policies that will enhance the instruction of students in large classes across the University.
Freshman Learning Project
David Pace and Joan Middendorf
In the Freshman Learning Project (FLP), twelve faculty fellows who teach high-impact courses and who were in a particularly good position to influence the teaching of their colleagues were identified. These faculty were invited to take part in an intensive two-week summer seminar, in which they defined a bottleneck to learning in their discipline, carefully specified the steps that students would have to follow to overcome this obstacle to learning, and developed new techniques to teach these steps in their classes, based on the Decoding the Disciplines approach. In subsequent semesters the fellows employed these strategies, systematically assessing the results and sharing their experiences in a variety of different venues. For more information, see the Decoding the Disciplines book.
New Pedagogies—New Technologies Project
Joan Middendorf, Kathryn Propst, and Maggie Ricci
With this award, faculty and instructors in the Human-Computer Interaction program carried out a project whose goals were:
- Define as thoroughly as possible the basic operations that are required for success in undergraduate history courses
- Develop ways of teaching these operations to undergraduates and assess the extent to which these approaches actually succeed in increasing students mastery of these skills
- Use the insights derived from this process to reshape the curriculum and the teaching strategies in the history department
- Make these insights available to other historians and to secondary school teachers preparing students for college courses.
- identification of tacit knowledge skills (argumentation, “wicked problems,” collaboration)
- coordination of core courses
- implementation of two research-based instructional strategies: David Perkins’ “making learning whole” and Larry Michaelsen’s team-based learning
- exploration of technological tools to support these strategies
- creation of a new kind of learning space that will encourage whole learning and team-based practice
- development of ongoing assessment instruments
- establishment of a culture in which all participating faculty are willing to open their classrooms to visitors, to be a showcase for new pedagogies, new technologies, and new spaces