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Blog » Join a Spring 2018 Teaching Circle

Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) is pleased to announce the following Teaching Circles have formed for Spring Semester 2018. If you are interested in joining one of these groups, please contact its organizer. Each Circle will hold its initial meeting in February, with the day and time decided by a Doodle poll. To learn about the purpose and organization of Teaching Circles, please see our TLS Teaching Circles blog post. If you have a topic for a Teaching Circle in AY 2018-2019, please contact Michael Starenko.

Using Active Learning to Foster Critical Thinking

Melodie Kolmetz (Physician Assistant Program)

One of our goals as educators is to foster lifelong learning and critical thinking in our students, therefore we are responsible for teaching them how to learn. Learning how to learn is perhaps the initial critical thinking skill and opens the door to much greater knowledge acquisition. Active learning strategies have been linked to improved critical thinking skills, so the purpose of this teaching circle is to explore pedagogical strategies and ideas for incorporating active learning strategies into our classes with the ultimate goal of helping students learn how to learn. We will begin with a round-robin discussion about what active learning means to the members of the circle, followed by a guided discussion of recent research articles regarding active learning strategies. Each member of the circle will have an opportunity to pilot a new active learning strategy in the classroom and then share successes and failures with the group with the hope of creating a reference for others who wish to incorporate active learning strategies in their own teaching.

Using Imagery to Help Stimulate Critical Thinking

Colin Mathers (Philosophy)

Recent research shows that supplementing audio/textual stimuli with imagery in the classroom can be beneficial to students. This teaching circle explores how student-centered approaches aimed at critical thinking can be enhanced by means of imagery. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then we can expect that supplementing a question or a problem with one or more images can help create intellectual excitement where it is missing and increase it where it is not. Areas for exploration include current research on imagery, finding and selecting images, developing imagery-prompted learning activities, and flipping the script by having students propose images of their own.

Put the WOW Back in STEM

Sandi Connelly (Biology),Jeff Mills (Chemistry), and Paul Craig (Chemistry)

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, contact Sandi Connelly.

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