Engaging Faculty in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: A View from BRIDGE Bridging Research, Instruction, and Discipline-Grounded Epistemologies College Teaching and Learning Conference January 2004 Arlene Wilner Professor of English Director, RiderBRIDGE [email protected]
Engaging Faculty in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: A View from BRIDGEBridging Research, Instruction, and Discipline-Grounded EpistemologiesCollegeTeaching and Learning ConferenceJanuary 2004Arlene WilnerProfessor of EnglishDirector, [email protected]
No template or set of generic skills
Purpose: To help faculty do more effectively what they already do
“. . .information-processing problems are goal oriented, and epistemic problems are oriented toward the incongruity that generates the problem.”
Michael Carter, “Problem-Solving Reconsidered: A Pluralistic theory of Problems.” College English 50.5 (Spring 1988), 551-65
Response papers ask you to critically engage a text and produce some analytical commentary on it.
English 240 – Methods of Literary Analysis
Instructor: Ryan Netzley
For this exam, you will produce two dialogues between critics, theorists, authors, or characters. You may choose from the following three options:
1) David Foster Wallace, Foucault, and Nietzsche on the subject of meaning and its proliferation.
2) Hamlet (the character, not the play or “Shakespeare”), Freud, and Foucault on the subject of subjectivity, individuality, and personhood.
3) Nealon (co-author of The Theory Toolbox and primarily responsible for the sections on popular culture and ideology), Adorno (you may ignore Horkheimer for our purposes), and Benjamin on either Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet or Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet (do not attempt to address both films!).
In short, you should produce a discussion between three figures that addresses one of the major concepts that we’ve discussed in class.
Having begun this project with the conviction that one of the chief problems that haunts this course (and others like it, regardless of title) is student resistance and the entire reductive pragmatic discourse that attends such resistance ("Derrida is too hard"; "why do we have to read this stuff?"; "isn't it all just up to the individual?"), my main intervention -- at the level of assignments -- was a dialogue exam that required students to inhabit various critical, theoretical, and literary figures. This alternative exam structure proved moderately successful, as student responses improved dramatically after the exam [emphasis added]. The downside, of course, is that this progress did not occur until midway through the semester. In the future, I would experiment with more and more directive response papers, asking students to mime theoretical texts earlier in the semester.
1) Emergence of common themes:
2) Opportunities for analogic thinking
Example: “I have decided to change my project for the spring 2002 semester. Inspired by Anne Osborne [History], I have revised two of my [Business Law] courses. Like Anne, I want my students to read primary sources and critically evaluate varying solutions to a variety of ethical and legal dilemmas.”
Dr. Susan Denbo
3) Greater faculty awareness of role within larger community:
Increased respect for the challenges faced by colleagues in other disciplines
Increased understanding of challenges for students, who must contend (as “novices”) simultaneously with four or five of us!
Importance of contexts and “thick description”:
“If teaching is going to be community property it must be made visible, through artifacts that capture its richness and complexity. In the absence of such artifacts, teaching is a bit like dry ice; it disappears at room temperature.”
Lee Shulman, President, Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
Insights yielded by longitudinal studies:
Performance at next level, success rate at obtaining interviews and securing jobs, success in graduate school (ideas from a chemistry professor)
Interviews with students who took the course a year ago: “I’m wondering if the opportunity to engage in problem-solving has had any impact on how they see themselves as learners—and how they remember the course (ideas from a psychology professor)
Compelling nature of “latitudinal” studies—
analogous effects from similar experiments conducted independently of each other (enhanced by multi-disciplinary faculty development structure)
“Ultimately, the measure of success for the scholarship of teaching movement will not be the degree to which it can—by focusing on the ‘many layers of practice’ at the heart of teaching —discover solutions worth implementing, but the extent to which it is successful in discovering problems worth pursuing.” Randy Bass
Impossibility of “controlled” experiments:
Classroom Assessment-Classroom Research =“any systematic inquiry designed and conducted for the purpose of increasing insight and understanding of the relationships between teaching and learning.” K. Patricia Cross
“I just don’t know how good I will be at either self-examination or willingness to change the way I teach dramatically. I will give it a try, but don’t be too disappointed or surprised if I fall short of your expectations.”
“Why don’t we have better students?”
“How much can we lower the bar?”
“How much can we be expected to spoonfeed?”