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Blog » Call to Join a Fall 2018 Teaching Circle

Michael Starenko--Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) is pleased to announce the following Teaching Circles for Fall Semester 2018. If you are interested in joining one of these groups, please email its facilitator directly. Each circle will hold its initial meeting in September or October, with the day and time decided by a Doodle poll. For more information regarding the purpose and organization of Teaching Circles at RIT, please see our Call to Form a Teaching Circle in Fall Semester 2018. If you would like to propose a topic for a Teaching Circle in Spring or Fall 2019, please email Michael Starenko.

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Creating More Research Opportunities through Classroom Teaching

Kaitlin Stack Whitney (Science, Technology, and Society; COLA / Environmental Science, COS)

One myth about teaching is that it’s time away from research. What if, instead, we try viewing research as an integral part of classroom teaching – and as an opportunity for both students and faculty? By its nature, research is often active and collaborative – integrating it into courses supports broader goals of pedagogy that are driven by active and experiential learning connected to real-world challenges and methods. Integrating research into courses also makes research experiences, especially initial exposure, much more accessible for RIT students from diverse backgrounds. This could “hook” students who may not have imagined research in their future, in turn leading them to supervised research experiences on and off campus.

Participants will learn from each other – what barriers and solutions may exist, what has or has not worked previously, and what resources may be needed for success. We will read and discuss multiple models for integrating research into teaching based on different types of course formats. Each member will have an opportunity to plan and map out a new research activity or strategy to try in the semester ahead. Members will have the option of writing up that experience in a collaborative publication.

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Defining Mentoring and Its Application / Value for Today’s College Student

Barry Strauber (School of Communication, COLA)

The idea of mentoring is ancient. The original Mentor was described by Homer as the "wise and trusted counselor" whom Odysseus left in charge of his household during his travels. In modern times, the concept of mentoring has found application in virtually every forum of learning. The “big idea” of student mentoring says that we are responsible for helping students “make their puzzle pieces fit” so as to show a path to a desired future. A fundamental difference between mentoring and advising is that mentoring is a personal and professional relationship. And a mentoring relationship develops over an extended period, during which a student's needs and the nature of the relationship tend to change.

We will begin with a round-robin discussion about what being a mentor means to the members of the circle, followed by a guided discussion of recent articles regarding mentoring strategies. Each member of the circle will have an opportunity to pilot their own idea of a mentor strategy in their student relationships and then share successes and failures with the group with the hope of creating a cumulative understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of particular mentoring models and strategies.

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Teaching in a World of Extroverts

Suzanne O’Handley (School of Chemistry and Materials Science, COS)

Upon reading the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, I started thinking about how differently people think, learn, work, and interact. One big difference is how introverts and extroverts approach these things. Maybe it’s that I am an introvert, but I feel like a lot of what happens in the classroom is geared to extroverts, from teachers "lecturing," to students "participating" and doing group work.

Let’s use this circle to explore how introverts approach teaching and learning. Take, for example, a class that is largely group discussion - how can we make these activities as inclusive as possible for all? How do we all make our classrooms as inclusive as possible for both introverted and extroverted students, but also for students with ADHD, anxiety, etc.? Though we could start from the introverted / extroverted perspective, we can branch out to other teaching and learning differences, depending on what the group wants to focus on.

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The Importance of Metacognition / Learning about Learning

Melodie Kolmetz (Physician Assistant Program, CHS)

A significant part of student learning is metacognition. Instruction in how to learn is critically important in the development of critical thinking skills, planning, and goal setting. We will utilize Saundra Yancy McGuire’s book, Teach Students How to Learn, as a foundation for this teaching circle. We will read a section of the book prior to each session with the goal of discussing the topics from that section and best practices in how to apply them in our teaching. Teaching metacognition is a great example of student-centered teaching. Plus, teaching students how to learn drives us as educators to strive for continuous improvement in our teaching practices, so we all benefit.

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Fostering Social Impact Design and Engagement Opportunities for Students

Rob Stevens (Mechanical Engineering, KGCOE), Sarah Brownell (Multidisciplinary Design, KGCOE), and Ann Howard (Science, Technology, and Society; COLA)

Social entrepreneurship, community engagement, and humanitarian engineering learning activities are becoming increasingly popular for developing critical thinking skills, nurturing empathy, and practicing problem solving while exposing students to other cultures, backgrounds, and viewpoints. How many students do you know who want to have an impact on the world? Or who want to be engaged in communities in meaningful ways? Have you ever wondered how to provide community engagement opportunities for your students? Do you believe that the role of the university is to serve and be more engaged in our global community? If so, please join faculty from multiple disciplines to explore formal and informal ways in which students can engage locally and internationally to promote equitable economies, just societies, and healthy communities for all. Teaching circle activities will include sharing current community engagement activities at RIT, researching and discussing engagement programs at other universities, and exploring the development of an RIT program focused on Social Impact Design and Engagement. If you are interested in joining this circle, email Rob Stevens.

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Best Practices in Modern Languages

Elisabetta Sanino D’Amanda (Modern Languages and Cultures, COLA)

This is a call to any teacher in Modern Languages to meet to discuss our practices at RIT and develop a map of our contribution to the field of language learning. Many efforts have been developed in English and in languages other than English, including ASL, but we do not have a gathering space where we can share our experiences, contribute original ideas, and support one another’s efforts. This group, which is similar to opportunities within Modern Languages on other university campuses, will help us improve collectively and create rapport, based on our practice to inform future growth in learning.

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Putting the WOW Back in STEM

Sandi Connelly (School of Life Sciences, COS), Jeff Mills (School of Chemistry and Materials Science, COS), and Paul Craig (School of Chemistry and Materials Science, COS)

Do you self-identify as a STEM-enthusiast? Do you remember the first time you pondered "Wonder what this does?!" or "What happens when I do 'this'?" If you said YES, we propose a way that you can rediscover that feeling of "Isn't that amazing!!" and instill that same feeling of genuine curiosity and passion in your students. Freeing up precious classroom time for those moments of "WOW" can be accomplished by moving some of the foundational (a.k.a. boring?) materials online. While the idea of online course material is not new, it is often a struggle for the STEM disciplines. Journey with us as we discover the best (and worst) ways to present STEM materials online, produce some of our own modular content, and open our hearts and minds for more of those precious "That is totally awesome!" moments in our classrooms! If you are interested in joining this Circle, email Sandi Connelly.

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