by Michaella Thornton, Assistant Director for Instructional Design
It is an inspiring and instructive privilege to be able to peek inside others’ classrooms to experience how others teach, hear how and why teachers make the choices they do for students, learning goals and objectives, and respective disciplines, and to consider how such possibilities may be transformed by those who teach elsewhere and/or do research on the scholarship of teaching and learning.
On Friday, April 19th past and current Innovative Teaching Fellows shared their perspectives about teaching in the Learning Studio, a state-of-the-art teaching space designed by a team of Saint Louis University faculty and students as part of the Herman Miller Learning Spaces Research Program. Almost 40 full-time SLU faculty and administrators attended this at-capacity event.
Presenting CTTL Innovative Teaching Fellows included:
- Jenny Agnew, Ph.D., School for Professional Studies (Fall 2012), who discussed how her “ENGL 150: The Process of Composition” students used theme-based writing projects via a public WordPress blog to explore the collaborative and on-going nature of writing, food, and culture, in addition to sharing how flexible classroom design may enhance the teaching of composition, especially in hosting teacher-student conferences, brainstorming sessions, and peer review.
- Beccy Aldrich, Ph.D., Department of Occupational Sciences and Occupational Therapy (Spring 2013), who shared how her “OCS 372: Occupations in Diverse Contexts” class uses immersive, collaborative learning technologies such as Fuze Meeting to connect with the Karolinska Institutet, a premier medical university located in Stockholm, Sweden, to foster a more globalized and diverse student perspective about occupational therapy.
- Paul Lynch, Ph.D., Department of English (Spring 2013), who shared how his graduate-level “ENGL 501: Teaching Writing” class uses a course blog and Google Docs to empower first-year composition instructors to co-construct assignments, the course syllabus, and model effective writing feedback for first-year composition students.
- Nathaniel Rivers, Ph.D., Department of English (Fall 2012), gave the audience a first-hand look at what he and his students have learned through the course, “ENGL 401: New Media Science Writing,” by sharing a snippet from his forthcoming jointly-created webtext, “Articulation.” To see and/or hear a different Vimeo video that sets the tone for the course Dr. Rivers held in the Learning Studio last fall, please click here.
- Thomas Stewart, J.D., School of Law (Fall 2012), who discussed how his first-year Evidence students used Google Docs and team-based and case-based learning to identify, apply, and contextualize the Federal Rules of Evidence (and the Missouri counterparts) to prepare students to practice law as professional attorneys.
We are so grateful to the Symposium panelists, who make this annual event possible by generously sharing their teaching and learning reflections with the larger Saint Louis University community.
Special thanks is also due to Flannery Burke, Ph.D., Department of History (Spring 2012), who prepared and introduced the Symposium panelists and deftly facilitated the Q&A session that immediately followed the panelists’ presentations.
We especially look forward to continuing the reflective conversation next April (2014) when we host our 3rd Annual Learning Studio Symposium. Since the Innovative Teaching Fellowship program began in Fall 2011, the faculty who teach in the Learning Studio have much to share with the broader community about what teaching practices and educational technologies resonate with them, transfer to classrooms outside of the Learning Studio, the role of instructional design, and how providing space, time, and support to be in a new or refreshed mindset can make all the difference in reinvigorating or creating innovative learning environments for 21st Century students.