IC-bG Workshop this Friday with Kim Cossey

When: Friday, October 23 at 3:30 pm
Where: Museum Education Room (corner of Montgomery & Clarke)
Who:  Part of the Course Design for the Liberal Arts Certificate series but open to all
WhatToo Much Information: Reducing Content and Increasing Impact in Your Course

Goals: Participants will develop a tangible strategy for reducing the content of your courses and devise methods for enhancing student critical thinking skills in your courses.

Does planning your course make you feel like you are in a race to complete a list of content? Is the assessment process leading you into a cycle of frequently adding “one more” activity to an already full course? In the past, professors were the gatekeepers of knowledge, and almost all of the information that a student could access was provided in the textbook. Professors came to rely on textbooks full of facts to organize our courses and tell us how and what our students should learn. Now, the future of textbooks seems geared towards providing more information through digital media and online sources, and thus the traditional method of teaching everything provided will no longer be applicable. The problem of students accessing information is no longer relevant. Instead, as educators, we need to empower our students with the skills needed to evaluate multiple sources of information and arrive at a logical conclusion. Using textbooks as a resource, rather than the only source of information in a course, can empower faculty and reinvigorate courses. In this workshop, we will give several examples of active learning strategies that incorporate civic issues and are designed to enhance students’ critical thinking skills. Our group is especially interested in engaging students in complex, challenging problems and collaboratively working towards a resolution.

As a participant, you will spend time:

  1. discussing challenges of designing courses with high content loads,
  2. generating and sharing strategies to overcome these obstacles, and
  3. developing a vision of the student that you are hoping to produce through your courses.
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About Dr. J. Metzker

I believe in the power of a liberal education to transform individuals and society. I am currently the Executive Director of the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence. Formerly, I led a community engagement initiative and held a full professorship in chemistry at a public liberal arts university. I am a proud product of The Evergreen State College.
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One Response to IC-bG Workshop this Friday with Kim Cossey

  1. Richard Greene says:

    I was intrigued by the summary of this workshop, especially because the implied ideal of the workshop is exactly what existed at my undergraduate and master’s degree universities (back in the late 60’s and early 70’s), and at Loyola University / New Orleans where I taught for 27 years before coming to GCSU. And it is essentially the same ideal on which all of my teaching (in music, history, cultural studies, English composition and interdisciplinary studies) has been based. It is sad to think that university teaching has fallen so far from the ideal that notions of textbooks and professors merge with high school and middle school teaching. Is there really anyone who believes teachers (even if called professors) are “gatekeepers” of knowledge? I thought that referred only to the old European system whereby professors were by definition “doctors” and so knowledgeable enough to be given the responsibility to frame the language of a topic/doctrine and to set the terms of the debate. But still there was debate. Students, of course, were expected to take advantage of those who were more experienced and knowledgeable, and generally were able to trust them to be honest and responsible. But I think students enrolling in institutions of higher education today are not quite as prepared for higher education than in earlier times — partly due to lack of preparation in secondary schools and partly due to the gradual merging of missions of universities (the expansion of knowledge) and technical schools (training for the workplace. So my challenge is to create preparatory projects in reading, studying, exploratory discussion and critical thinking while encouraging students to become familiar with the facts and opinions and arguments that form the context of the subject at hand.

    Best of luck with the workshop.

    Richard Greene

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