The Innovative Learning Institute is pleased to announce the following teaching circles for Spring 2020. A teaching circle is a small group of teachers who come together for at least one term to have robust discussions about a teaching and learning topic. If you are interested in joining one of these upcoming groups, email the facilitator for the teaching circle directly. Unless otherwise noted in the circle description, circles will hold their initial organizational meeting in late January or early February. For more information about the purpose and organization of teaching circles at RIT, please see our Call to Form a Teaching Circle in Spring 2020. If you have any questions or suggestions for teaching circle topics, email Michael Starenko.
Best Practices for Teaching Overseas
Michael A. Radin (School of Mathematical Sciences, COS)
International teaching experiences can inspire new pedagogical innovations and forge international and interdisciplinary research coalitions. The teaching circle will examine how teaching innovations often emerge naturally during our international teaching experiences and during our long–term international travels. Furthermore, we will discuss how to handle challenges such as cultural barriers, different teaching and learning styles, and choosing the appropriate courses and seminars to conduct. We will discuss finding the balance between leading and following while adapting to a new culture and to a new educational system.
We will also focus on how to detect the similarities and differences between educational systems and work to answer the following questions: Why do differences among educational systems exist? How can we design new teaching innovations that reflect the differences? How can we align with the frames and restrictions of the new academic system and environment? If you are interested in joining this circle, email Michael A. Radin
Breaking Down the Ivory Tower: Getting to Know Our Students/Getting Our Students to Know Us.
Kristin Kant-Byers (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, COLA)
This teaching circle has the goal of helping faculty create a more personal experience in the classroom- not just for students, but for the faculty as well. It is the perspective of this circle that personal learning is effective learning, that is, information that is made relatable to students' lives, interests, and goals leads to more successful learning. So how can faculty share information that is relatable to the faculty member's life, interests, goals, and even their own academic journey? Many articles, blogs, and posts advise students on how to leave a good impression with their professors, how to communicate, and how to get to know professors.
Yet, very little is offered on how faculty can get to know their students. Even less technique and practices are offered that guide faculty in modeling the very personal process of learning to their students (probably because this is a vulnerable thing for faculty to do). This circle will brainstorm, create, experiment, encourage, and assess classroom practices that help faculty get to know their students and help students get to know their faculty.
We will meet Thursdays 2:00-3:00pm beginning Jan 30, and including Feb. 13 and 27, March 19, and April 2 and 16. If you are interested in joining this circle, email Kristin Kant-Byers.
Enhancing English Language Learners’ Educational Experience: Teaching and Supporting ELL Students
Kari Cameron (School of Communication, COLA)
I teach a Communication course that tends to be comprised of many students who are not native English speakers. Students who are not native speakers have raised discussions about how this impacts their success in the classroom. They've talked about distinct cultural differences in classrooms, as well as challenges they face when working on written assignments or in orally communicating. These identified differences impact their willingness to ask questions or participate in discussions, raises concerns about how their work is graded, and can generally impact their feelings of satisfaction in the classroom. In addition, instructors find that it can be challenging to ensure ELL students understand assignments, classroom discussion, and feedback.
Facilitating Self-Authorship through Classroom Dialogue
Linda Pratt (Student Life, Academic Success Center)
The RIT 365 model of instruction is centered on the premise of self-authorship, which is defined by Baxter-Magolda as “the internal capacity to define one’s beliefs, identity, and social relationships.” Creating classroom dialogue to facilitate self-authorship is a new construct for many instructors who are more familiar with teaching in a content-based format. Additionally, this was an unexpected change to the traditional model of college orientation courses for a number of first-year students, where topics and content are pre-determined by the instructor.
This learning circle is intended to build on existing practice and pedagogy to examine the phases of self-authorship and its application to classroom activities, student assessment, and/or 1:1 coaching. We will explore the questions and challenges of implementing opportunities that encourage students to discern their own construction as learners. Participants will review and discuss an article on self-authorship, and take turns acting as dialogue facilitator(s). These discussions would include, but not be limited to, efficacy of findings, classroom application to known or new learning activities, or possible areas for future study. It is not necessary for participants to have been RIT 365 Facilitators, as self-authorship can be a useful construct in other courses. Knowledge of the premise of self-authorship is helpful but not required, just a willingness to learn. If you are interested in joining this circle, email Linda Pratt.
Taj Smith (Division of Diversity and Inclusion, Diversity Education)
Lisa Hermsen (Department of English, COLA), Kristoffer Whitney (Department of Science, Technology, and Society; COLA), and Rebekah Walker (Reference Librarian Group, Wallace Library)
This teaching circle will be continued from the Fall and will explore the possibility of expanding existing and newly implemented place-based or place-conscious pedagogy at RIT. This pedagogy connects students with local neighborhoods or communities and regions to engage with the cultural, social, and environmental landscape. Participants will be invited to collaborate to craft a 3-page concept paper that may lead to grant-seeking activity.
As such, the teaching circle discussions will start with these questions: how can we create an approach to learning that invites students to converse with communities and regions, within the context of mobility, and at the level of national and global arrangements? How can our teaching link the development of ecological awareness and stewardship to concerns about equity and cultural diversity, make connections among multiple disciplines to develop strategies for increasing civic engagement? How can we use digital public discourse to create modes for civil discourse in support of critical but “effective citizenship.”
In this teaching circle, participants will discuss the ways in which place-based education can connect students to a community, and use civic engagement with digital public discourse to build out to national and global topics. Participants will be invited to bring their own interest in place-based models–disability awareness, immigration reform, urban development, public history, or a literary marketplace. If you are interested in joining this circle, email Lisa Hermsen.
Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing
Marcos Esterman (Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, KGCE) and Sonia Lopez Alarcon (Department of Computer Engineering, KGCE)
Supporting Male Students
Rebecca Charry Roje, (Department of English, RIT Croatia-Dubrovnik Campus)
Since I am based at our Dubrovnik, Croatia, campus, we will meet via Bluejeans a minimum of three times during the semester for approximately one hour. Due to time zone differences, our live meetings will be scheduled during morning hours EST (afternoon hours in Croatia). We may also choose to use some asynchronous discussion methods, if participants wish. If you are interested in joining this circle, email Rebecca Charry Roje.
The Learning Development of RIT Students
Cha Ron Sattler-LeBlanc (Student Life, Academic Success Center) and Melodie Kolmetz (Physician Assistant Program, CHS)
Threshold Concepts of Writing across the Curriculum
Luke Daly (University Writing Program, COLA) and David Yockel (University Writing Program, COLA)