Graduate student training in course design a crucial component in transforming academic programs
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Graduate Student Training in Course Design: A Crucial Component in Transforming Academic Programs. Ann M. Keller-Lally, Ph.D. University of Northern Colorado CLAC Conference, October 16, 2008. MLA Ad Hoc Committee. Charge to transform academic programs:

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Graduate Student Training in Course Design: A Crucial Component in Transforming Academic Programs

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Graduate student training in course design a crucial component in transforming academic programs

Graduate Student Training in Course Design: A Crucial Component in Transforming Academic Programs

Ann M. Keller-Lally, Ph.D.

University of Northern Colorado

CLAC Conference, October 16, 2008


Mla ad hoc committee

MLA Ad Hoc Committee

Charge to transform academic programs:

  • Teach language, culture and literature as a continuous whole;

  • Produce educated speakers who

    - have deep translingual and transcultural competencies,

    - reflect on the world and themselves through the lens of

    another language and culture,

    - comprehend speakers of the target language as

    members of foreign societies, and

    - grasp themselves as members of a society that is

    foreign to others; and

  • Develop new courses and programs in collaboration with all members of the teaching corps.


Implications for graduate student training

Implications for Graduate Student Training

  • Graduate students are the future educators faced with implementing these programmatic and curricular reforms;

  • Graduate students currently receive little training in content course design; and

  • Marketability - Current trends in the job market emphasize demonstrated skills in developing and teaching interdisciplinary courses that promote analytic literacies and translingual and transcultural competencies.


One approach cognitive apprenticeships

One Approach: Cognitive Apprenticeships

  • Definition:

    “all significant human activity is highly situated in real-world contexts…complex cognitive skills are therefore ultimately learned in high-context, inherently motivating situations in which the skills themselves are organically bound up with the activity being learned and its community of expert users.” (Atkinson, 87)

  • Graduate students work as scholars-in-training with faculty mentors to develop and teach content courses.


The 5 step process exemplified

The 5-Step Process Exemplified

  • Example Topic: The historical development of biological typing and its influence on European culture

  • Step 1: Establish the Course Content

  • Step 2: Specify Literacies to Establish Learning Goals

  • Step 3: Determine the Most Appropriate Genres and

    Texts

  • Step 4: Design Daily and Weekly Unit Objectives

  • Step 5: Determine Measures for Evaluation


Step one establish the course content

Step One: Establish the Course Content

Example Topic: The historical development of biological typing and its influence on European culture


Step two specify literacies to establish learning goals

Step Two: Specify Literacies to Establish Learning Goals

  • Example: Critical Cultural Literacy - the ability to critically analyze representations in cultural artifacts (e.g., texts, film) for cultural perspective, social control and influence and for the implications of such representations in the societies in which they occur.

  • Sample Learning Goals:

    1) Explain how representative scientific developments have contributed to changes in social thought and in representations of social types;

    2) Exemplify how scientific developments have influenced other domains and been used by official interests for social or political ends; and

    3) Evaluate the persistence of biological typing in the cultural artifacts of contemporary societies.


Step three determine the most appropriate genres and texts

Step Three: Determine the Most Appropriate Genres and Texts

  • Example: film and popular fiction from the 19th and 20th centuries

  • Four Thematic Units

    1) The Criminal

    2) The Insane

    3) The Feminine

    4) The “Degenerate” Races


Step four design daily and weekly unit objectives

Step Four: Design Daily and Weekly Unit Objectives

  • Objectives and Activities move from concrete → more abstract, comprehension → production, and familiar/overt → less known/covert (guided by Bloom’s Taxonomy)

  • Example:

    -Week 1: gain background knowledge about criminal anthropology (assigned readings in secondary literature)

    -Week 2: apply knowledge to representations of the criminal in popular detective fiction (Sherlock Holmes) and film (“M,” 1931)

    -Week 3: compare representations from the text and film to clips from a popular contemporary detective series (“NYPD Blue”) and draw conclusions about biological typing in the media today and how this may contribute to underlying stereotypes in popular sentiment.


Step five determine measures for evaluation

Step Five: Determine Measures for Evaluation

  • Example:

    Overriding Goal = developing critical cultural literacy

    Assessment Focus = constructing arguments supported by critical comparisons of cultural artifacts and drawing implications from the analysis.

    Assessment techniques

    - Précis assignments (see handout) – skill building

    - Final paper – autonomous investigation and skill

    application


Cognitive apprenticeship structure

Cognitive Apprenticeship Structure

  • Semester 1:

    a) Graduate student works with faculty mentor to develop a content course with overriding literacy objectives, and

    b) submits the course proposal to teach in a subsequent semester

  • Semester 2:

    a) Graduate student teaches the course,

    b) meets periodically with faculty mentor to reflect on

    effectiveness of course design, classroom activities and

    achievement of established outcomes, and

    c) makes necessary adjustments to the course. If time permits,

    student proposes to teach the course a second time with the

    revisions.

  • Job Search: Students enter the job market with some experience in developing and teaching a content-drive course.


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