Collaborative Transformation of Entry-Level Courses
University of Kansas
- University of British Columbia
- Queen’s University
- Indiana University Bloomington
- University of California Davis
- University of Colorado Boulder
- University of Texas at San Antonio
RAC1 examines course transformation programs as catalysts for change in faculty teaching practices and culture. The aim of this work is to learn how course transformation initiatives can advance the larger BVA goal of increasing faculty adoption and adaptation of evidence-based teaching methods supporting effective student learning. Its central hypothesis is that the actions of academic leaders to support course transformation, combined with the formation of intellectual communities around evidence-based teaching, can promote the adoption of such practices. Moreover, we argue that the provision of departmentally-focused support will provide the optimal conditions for the adoption of these methods and, in the longer run, catalyze culture change. RAC1 activity is concentrated in two externally-funded projects, one focused on course transformation in the humanities (CHRP) and the other focused on course transformation in STEM (TRESTLE).
CHRP: Collaborative Humanities Redesign Program
Supported by a grant from the Teagle Foundation, KU is partnering with three liberal arts institutions (Elon, Park, and Rockhurst) to promote and evaluate active and engaged learning in humanities courses. The leadership team has created a network of 24 faculty participants across the four campuses. The group has convened for three all-project meetings at the beginning of each project year. The teams on each campus meet 2-3 times each semester, working on what challenges existed and what innovations might help address those learning challenges. Participants have also engaged with each other across campuses through online meetings organized around shared interests, and through course portfolio review. Each participant has drafted a benchmark record of a target course, applied innovations and evaluated the impact on student learning, and captured that work in a course portfolio. In 2016-17 they are implementing, evaluating, and documenting a second wave of innovations. The BVA survey of teaching practices and attitudes, along with analysis of the course portfolios, are being used to track the effects of this initiative.
Work from the CHRP community will be featured in a capstone conference, open to participants from any institution, June 8-10, 2017 in Kansas City: (Re)Imagining Humanities Teaching: Innovations in Course Design. Plenary speakers include BVA senior scholar, Pat Hutchings.
TRESTLE: Transforming Learning, Stimulating Teaching and Learning Excellence
Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, this project implements and evaluates a model to promote improved STEM education at seven research universities. It builds on the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at UBC and CU in which STEM Education experts (postdoctoral scholars) are embedded in departments to collaborate with faculty on course transformation to enhance student learning. TRESTLE test whether we can propagate change through a smaller infusion of resources and expertise (few experts in a given department) by building communities of scholars around course transformation to amplify the effects of the embedded experts. Each institution is testing a model with three core components, with local adaptations:
- Embed experts in departments to catalyze and support course transformation
- Build intellectual communities around course transformation, within and across departments, and across universities (the TRESTLE network)
- Generate evidence of impact and make it visible within the communities
At the end of year 1, all campuses have launched or are continuing their local programs. The network has come together twice, in January 2016 for the TRESTLE launch meeting and course transformation institute, and in October 2016 for the annual TRESTLE network meeting. There will be two additional network meetings at the end of years 2 and 3. These meetings bring together embedded experts, faculty, and project leaders to foster exchange of strategies and results, social connections, and opportunities for collaboration with peers outside one’s own institution, ideally generating the critical mass of educational experts needed to support the work. To this end, we are also organizing virtual network meetings around topics or questions of shared interest. We are tracking the impact of the initiative through multiple measures including a faculty survey of teaching practices, attitudes, and climate, classroom observation with the COPUS, tracking of student successful course completion, and case studies of four selected departments before, during, and after the conclusion of the intervention. Baseline measures were collected during or before year 1 of the project.
How to Engage with RAC1
Please contact Andrea Follmer Greenhoot at email@example.com at Kansas University.