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+ Changing Participants in Pedagogical Planning: Students as Co-Creators of Course Design, Curricula, and Teaching Approaches Alison Cook-Sather, Bryn.

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Presentation on theme: "+ Changing Participants in Pedagogical Planning: Students as Co-Creators of Course Design, Curricula, and Teaching Approaches Alison Cook-Sather, Bryn."— Presentation transcript:

1 + Changing Participants in Pedagogical Planning: Students as Co-Creators of Course Design, Curricula, and Teaching Approaches Alison Cook-Sather, Bryn Mawr College (US) Peter Felten, Elon University (US) Catherine Bovill, University of Glasgow (UK)

2 + Students as Co-Creators of Teaching Approaches Changing Participants in Pedagogical Planning: Students as Co-Creators of Course Design, Curricula, and Teaching Approaches The Andrew W. Mellon Teaching and Learning Institute Dr. Alison Cook-Sather, Professor of Education Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. U.S. A. Barcelona June 2010 International Consortium of Educational Development (ICED)

3 + Overview Description of focal programs Theoretical grounding Research approach Key redefinition of quality learning For small group discussion: Address particular questions people have Discuss challenges to norms of faculty development that this approach poses Share recommendations for developing such programs Distribute a list of references

4 + The Andrew W. Mellon Teaching and Learning Institute at Bryn Mawr College Part of a larger Teaching and Learning Initiative that aims to create new structures within which all members of the campus community faculty, staff, and students interact as teachers, learners, and colleagues. Seeks to foster a culture that operates on principles of equality and functions as an integrated, interactive, and evolving whole (Lesnick & Cook-Sather 2010).

5 + Faculty participate in two interrelated forums for dialogue about teaching and learning: 1. A semi-structured, semester-long seminar weekly two-hour, semi-structured meetings weekly posts to a closed blog feedback and portfolios 2. Individual partnerships with undergraduate students The undergraduate student, who is not enrolled in the participating faculty members course, visits one of her faculty partners classes each week and takes detailed observation notes meets with her faculty partner each week to talk about what is happening in the class participates in weekly reflective meetings with other student consultants and me visits five meetings of the faculty pedagogy seminar each semester.

6 + TLI: Theoretical Grounding Responds to Shulmans (2004) assertion that faculty need to emerge from pedagogical solitude and change the status of teaching from private to community property (pp ) Embraces the commitments of reflective and collaborative approaches to professional development (Cowan & Westwood, 2006; Huston & Weaver, 2008) and faculty learning communities (Richlin & Cox, 2004; Cox, 2003) Addresses Cox and Sorensons (2000) claim that student involvement in formal conversations about teaching and learning has not only been just a small component of faculty development practices it has been virtually invisible (p. 99; see also Cox, 2001; Cox & Sorenson, 2000; Sorenson, 2001) Applies to the college context principles of student voice work developed largely within K-12 schools (Fielding, 2006; Rudduck, 2007; Thiessen & Cook-Sather, 2007) and is modeled on a project that positions high school students as consultants to prospective secondary teachers (Cook-Sather, 2002, 2006, 2009). Complements a new a strand of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) focused on student voice (Mihans, Long, & Felten, 2008; Werder & Otis, 2010).

7 + Research Approach Action research project approved by Bryn Mawr Colleges IRB Participants: 104 faculty members across rank and division and 55 student consultants in a total of 118 partnerships between 2007 and 2010 Data sources: audiotaped conversations of weekly meetings, weekly posts to the closed blog, mid- and end- of-semester feedback, a follow-up survey, and transcripts of small-group, semi-structured discussions of past participants in TLI forums Method: constant comparison/grounded theory (Creswell, 2006; Strauss, 1987)

8 + Student Outcomes Improved Learning I honestly think it has made me a better student, although maybe a more critical one. I think more about the professors thinking process for what he or she wanted me to get out of an assignment, which makes me more focused. Greater Confidence I gained a lot confidence in my own thoughts in my opinions and ways that I look at things and confidence in the ways that I put them forward. More Responsibility In past discussions Ive always been talking about what the profs do to us and its been a one-way street. And now I am able to look at it as a relationship in the classroom; if were complaining about something that is going on, its also the students role to step up and say something about that.

9 + Faculty Outcomes Deeper Sense of Community Our participation in the seminar produces the invigorating effect of removing the instructor from his or her office and the classroom, enclosed spaces where traditionally preparation of lesson plans and execution take place. The lonely task of the authoritative professor is transformed into an open space, and the dialogue between colleagues and students enriches the experience of participating in the same community of learners. Greater Confidence I feel much more confident insofar that I feel more centered in my own understanding of what is generative about the material Im presenting and about the dynamics of the classes themselves. Increased Intentionality The whole experience has made me more intentional, more thoughtful, and more articulate in defining the rationales for what I do.

10 + Key Redefinition of Quality Learning: Both faculty and students who participate in the TLI come to see learning as a shared responsibility I work with students more as colleagues, more as people engaged in similar struggles to learn and grow. –Faculty Member This experience has made me increasingly alive to both the professors perspective and to my own responsibilities as a student in creating and maintaining a positive and effective learning environment for all members of the class. – Student Consultant

11 ICED: June 28, 2010 Students as partners in course design Peter Felten, Elon University

12 Overview Elons context CASTL Leadership Initiative: Student Voices in SoTL Course design teams / course design process Findings Questions

13 CASTL: Student Voices in SoTL Carmen Werder and Megan M. Otis, editors (Stylus, 2010)

14 Elons course design teams / process Design team = faculty, students, CATL Goal = redesigned syllabus Process = ~6-12 meetings, backward design Roles = based on expertise Power = from you/I to we/our

15 Research on course design teams Multiple SoTL projects approved by Elons IRB Pre, post, and post-post-interviews of participants (n=27) Design team member journals (n=42) Teacher journals while teaching redesigned course (n=6) Methods: constant comparison/grounded theory -- and disciplinary- based SoTL methods

16 Findings Students in design teams: Deepened understanding of foundational concepts in discipline Stronger sense of control/autonomy/voice in own education Greater appreciation for complexities of teaching and learning Faculty in design teams: Enhanced understanding of student learning experiences New perspectives on students (and community participants) Increased stress and liberation

17 A somewhat typical student post- interview Junior psychology major: I feel like Ive had a lot of involvement, which is kind of surprising since I have no idea how to teach a classroom or anything like that. But just knowing what our research has found and being the student, being in classes all the time, I guess. You know, I have a completely different perspective than the two professors would.... So I could talk about different activities that were most interesting and that students would get the most value out of. So that was helpful.

18 A somewhat typical faculty journal PRE: I dont think this group project will work. I really should have put my foot down and told them that my way was the only way to do it to ensure that everyone contributed.... Some of them will simply blow it off and the importance of this module will be lost.... Some of them are just looking for a way to do the least amount of work possible. Grading this is going to be a nightmare - should I even bother? How would I differentiate between students?... I should not have given this option - it will be a disaster! POST: The group presentation went really well... Because they had worked with each other for 2 months now, they seemed to be aware of each others strengths and weaknesses.... Be sure to have them add a component to their reflections about group dynamics.

19 Questions we are pondering... How can we scale-up the course design teams to involve more faculty and students? What are the characteristics of courses, faculty, and students that are most ripe for the redesign team process? How do courses (and how does learning) change as a result of the redesign team process?

20 A closing Elon student perspective, post-interview Even in college, even now, I think some teachers…are so focused on getting stuff done that they dont pay attention to their students, who I think are the most valuable resources in a classroom.

21 Changing Participants in Pedagogical Planning: Students as Co-Creators of Course Design, Curricula, and Teaching Approaches Students as co-creators of curricula International Consortium of Educational Development (ICED) Barcelona June 2010 Dr Catherine Bovill, Lecturer, Academic Development Unit, University of Glasgow

22 Overview Background to research Relevant literature The cases studied Findings Relationships, ownership and practice

23 Background to research Students as co-creators/co-producers of their learning (ESU, 2008; McCulloch, 2009; SFC, 2008) Silence about curriculum within HE (Barnett & Coate, 2005) Students passive in the curriculum (Mann, 2008) Most refs to active student participation (ASP) - student feedback informing curricula (e.g. Rumpus, 2009; University of Warwick, 2006) Literature calling for ASP in curriculum design from critical pedagogy and popular education (Darder et al, 2003; Dewey, 1916; Fischer, 2005; Freire, 1993; Giroux, 1983; Rogers and Freiberg, 1969)

24 HE Literature supporting ASP HE Literature calling for ASP in curriculum design limited Active participation in university, representation & learning Implied in Fraser & Bosanquets (2006) curriculum definitions a) Structure and content of a unit b) Structure and content of a programme of study c) The students experience of learning d) A dynamic and interactive process of teaching and learning (p272) Specific ASP in curriculum design in HE Breen & Littlejohn (2000) Language teaching Samson & Scandrett (1999) Environmental justice Fischer (2005); Delpish et al. (2010) Education

25 Research process Carnegie Research Grant – Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland 3 examples purposively sampled from an earlier study on first year curriculum design (Bovill et al., 2008) Geographical spread – Scotland, Ireland, USA Subject spread – environmental justice, geography, education, First year focus

26 The cases: interview 1 University College Dublin, Ireland (February 2009) Geography, 400 students Retrospective and current design

27 The cases: interview 2 Elon University, North Carolina, USA (March 2009) Education, 50 students Retrospective and future design

28 The cases: interview 3 Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, Scotland (March 09) Environmental Justice, 16 students Current and future design

29 Student outcomes Increase in collective and individual responsibility Enhanced collaborative learning Enhanced group cohesion Increased autonomy and self-directed learning Improved confidence and motivation Enhanced student performance in assessments Changed views of curriculum design as a complex process Enhanced understanding of role of tutor Enhanced understanding of place of theory within curriculum content Desire for more opportunities to participate

30 Staff outcomes Nerve-wracking Intense / demanded a lot Rich experience from genuine dialogue with students Transformatory

31 Findings – key themes Risk Tutor – student relationship Individuals Institutional context Familiarity/unfamiliarity Expectations

32 Re-imagining relationships You work in a university and you get surrounded by people who should like teaching but who really dont like teaching and dont like students…theyre so stupid, they dont do any work, theyre so lazy…and I think actually, its our problem, because theyre not, theyre smart, theyre engaged, theyre interested. (UCD)

33 Relationships Tutors are gatekeepers to curricula design Relationship as litmus test to motivations of tutor & students Students as experts in student experience The importance of the nature of dialogue (Fischer, 2005; Haggis, 2006) Exposure to rich pedagogical variety - experimentation Tutors operate within the constraints of a market-driven university system (McLean, 2006; Parker, 2003) Tutor and students as learners in joint inquiry (Freire, 1993) Tutors have expert knowledge & control over assessment Liminal moments – key to convincing students of sincerity Is there a curriculum without students? (Barnett & Coate, 2005) Some legitimate staff concerns of about handing over control and loss of expertise (Bovill et al., 2009)

34 Some concerns… Danger of participative methodologies being adopted in instrumental ways - tends to result in alienation (Cleaver, 2001; Mosse, 2005) Possible to be methodologically radical but politically conservative (Kane, 2005)

35 Questions and comments you have Challenges to norms of faculty development that this approach poses Recommendations for faculty developers Discussion

36 Questions to consider How can we raise academic staff expectations of students? How might possible co-creation of the curricula differ between the arts / social sciences / science disciplines? Should academic developers encourage / support co- creation of the curriculum? If they should, how can academic developers support co- creation of the curriculum? Other questions you may have…

37 Insight: What is one idea or question you have now? Application: What is one way you will apply these ideas in your context? What next?

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