Proposed FLCs for 2009-10 academic year
How People Learn
The How People Learn FLC is offered every academic year to a new cohort of VCU faculty. The plan to accomplish the FLC's goals and objectives will change as a new cohort identifies issues that are of particular importance to them as they seek to understand how people learn. The core focus of this FLC is the exploration of the theories and science behind how people learn.
Purpose and Description
Recent research efforts in cognitive science, educational psychology, and neuroscience have made significant contributions to our understanding of how people learn. These research efforts have revolutionized some of the earlier theories on how people learn and have necessitated a change in classroom practice. Participants in this FLC will explore significant aspects of this research, engage in discussions about the implications for teaching, and revise one of their own courses to reflect the research.
Participants will determine the selection of topics for seminars and workshops that will guide the activities of the community for the academic year. During the Fall 2009 semester faculty members will explore a range of literature regarding how people learn. In the Spring 2010 semester, participants will build on knowledge and insights gained during the fall semester to propose, design and implement teaching projects aimed incorporating how people learn into their course design.
In addition to the individual projects, FLC members will also design and complete a collaborative project that will contribute to the meaningful use of the information on how people learn to the wider VCU community.
Participants will meet over a time period for learning, discussion, and support as a multidisciplinary and collegial community. Specifically, participants will:
- Explore and discuss the current literature on ‘how people learn.’
- Incorporate information from the existing literature on ‘how people learn’ into their classes.
- Engage in a collective (i.e. group) project that will benefit the greater VCU community.
- Assess the results of their individual course redesign and learning community’s efforts and disseminate that assessment.
Participants will be expected to:
- Attend and participate in regular bi-weekly meetings during the 2009-09 academic year.
- Work with your FLC colleagues as we exploring the literature on ‘how people learn.’
- Serve as a support system to your FLC colleagues as we work through our individual plans to revise our courses based on ‘how people learn.’
- Contribute to a Blackboard community on ‘how people learn.’
- Design and carryout a group project based on the work of our FLC.
- Prepare a mid-year progress report and a final report indicating the impact of the community on the program outcomes.
- Discuss and implement an assessment plan for your individual efforts and the group project.
- Discuss dissemination of the assessment plan.
Who can apply?
You may apply to this FLC if you are an adjunct, full-time collateral, tenure track or tenured faculty member who will be employed during the entire 2009 - 20010 academic year.
Each participant will have available up to $500 to support the integration of the information and knowledge obtained in this FLC experience into their classrooms. The funding can include, for example, purchase of hardware and software, travel to education-related conferences, and so on. A portion of the funds can be distributed at the beginning of the FLC, and in full at the close of the 2009 – 2010 academic year.
The community will be assisted by a facilitator from the CTE who is trained in pedagogy, cognitive science, and neuroscience and has experience in facilitating faculty learning communities.
Engaging Online Learners
The Engaging Online Learners Faculty Learning Community (FLC) is offered every academic year to a new cohort of VCU faculty. The topical focus of this FLC will change as new practices and new technologies evolve in online learning. The core focus of this FLC is the exploration of instructional practices that enhance student learning in an online environment.
Purpose and Description
Faculty at VCU have years of successful face-to-face classroom teaching experience and are now examining ways to move this positive experience online. One of the most significant challenges is translating class practices that engage students into online practices that engage students. The design of effective online learning environments that achieve this engagement requires significant investment by faculty and fundamental rethinking of teaching practices. A Faculty Learning Community provides a venue to explore these new techniques and implement them in actual practice. This community will offer participants the opportunity to collaboratively investigate, discuss, implement and critique best practices teaching online as a means of enhancing student learning. The focus will be on teaching and not technology. Key outcomes for participants will focus on defining high quality online instruction, identifying current online teaching practices locally and nationally (with strengths and weaknesses), determining appropriate use of online methodologies by disciplines, examining appropriate online institutional policies, developing methods for assessing the effectiveness of online processes on learning outcomes, and then applying these to their own online classes.
This community will meet for the duration of the 2009 – 2010 academic year. Participants will meet every 2-3 weeks either physically or virtually. As a community, they will determine the selection of topics for seminars and workshops that will guide their activities for the academic year. During the fall semester, faculty members will explore a wide range of possibilities for creating engaged learning in an online environment. In the spring semester, participants will build on knowledge and insights gained during the fall to propose, design, implement and evaluate teaching materials and projects in their own classes aimed at incorporating processes that enhance online student learning.
This community welcomes participants who are developing online courses for the first time or are currently teaching online and wish to improve their courses.
Each participant will have available up to $500 to support the development of their online teaching and learning project. This can include for example, purchase of appropriate hardware and software to enhance online learning, travel to conferences that feature sessions on online learning, etc. A portion of the funds can be distributed at the beginning of the FLC with the remainder in Spring 2010.
The community will be assisted by a facilitator from the CTE who is trained in online pedagogy and course design, with fourteen years personal experience teaching online.
Using Technology to Enhance Teaching and Learning: Exploring Smart Phones
The Using Technology to Enhance Teaching and Learning FLC is offered every academic year to a new cohort of VCU faculty. The topical focus of this FLC changes as compelling technologies are identified for instructional use. The core focus of this FLC is the exploration of instructional practices that take advantage of technology to enhance learning.
Purpose and Description
The topical focus of the Using Technology to Enhance Teaching and Learning FLC for the 2009-2010 academic year, will be the exploration of the educational use of smart phones. The convergence of mobile devices, computing power and ubiquitous Internet access has resulted in unprecedented learning opportunities that are just beginning to be explored. There has also been considerable advancement in the development of smart phone applications, many of which have interesting educational possibilities. In acknowledging the powerful potential of these conditions, this community will offer members the opportunity to investigate, discuss, implement, and assess the use of smart phone technology to enhance learning both inside and outside of the classroom.
In order to facilitate focused discussion and inquiry, we are establishing a uniform device to be used by community members. We will focus on the use of the Apple iPhone platform, and feel that this will create “common ground” for members to share experiences and best practices. In addition, applications for the Apple iPhone platform are plentiful and under continuous development, many with potential educational use.
All members will be required to have an iPhone to participate. FLC funding may be used to help defray the cost of participation, however participants will need to pay for their own iPhone and the data / phone plan.
Meeting every 2 weeks, members of this community will spend the Fall 2009 semester exploring and designing effective ways to use smart phone technology to enhance student learning. As a group, members will review example uses at other universities, identify instructional needs, explore the use of smart phone applications and discuss ways of assessing educational impact. In addition, each community member will study successful strategies being used by other faculty in his or her own field.
In the Spring 2010 semester, each community member will identify specific applications to incorporate in one of the courses that he or she teaches, and engage in targeted exploration of the impact of these applications / practices on student learning. As a group, the learning community will investigate, discuss, and assess these various approaches. Community members will be expected to share insights, challenges and successes with their departmental colleagues and the wider University community.
Potential exists for this community to make recommendations for the development of VCU-specific proposals and specifications for useful iPhone applications that would be of value to the VCU community.
All full-time tenured, tenure-track or part-time faculty, or a member of the professional staff who is teaching, are eligible to apply for this FLC.
Each community member will receive a $500 award for professional expenses related to the work of the FLC (Again, this award may be used to purchase an iPhone if necessary).
A facilitator from the CTE who is trained in pedagogy and the effective use of instructional technology to support learning will assist the community as they explore this topic. In addition, a staff member from VCU Technology Services staff will also participate in the community as a technical consultant and advisor.