In the first meeting of our faculty learning community, we negotiated the purpose and goals of the community. In discussing former and current classes, the reoccurring issue was a desire for better student engagement. Especially in long format classes— 75 minutes or even, heaven forbid, 180 minutes—students drift off, neither engaging with the lecture or their peers. Eliciting answers to questions often feels less like a productive Socratic methodology and more like pulling teeth from an array of sedated patients.
Due to this shared interest, we agreed to pursue strategies for enabling a more active and engaged class. For our upcoming meeting at 2:00pm, Wednesday Feb. 25th, we agreed to read through a set of active learning strategies developed by the Teaching and Learning Services at McGill University. We will identify strategies that we have used in the past as well as those that sound promising for future classes and share our experiences at a group. I have also posted some supplemental readings on active learning principles on the curriculum page for this FLC.
We also discussed using digital tools, including but not limited to Google Docs, to enable students in large classes to participate in these active learning strategies. During our upcoming meeting we will explore Google Docs and evaluate the applicability of the various apps for our classrooms.