S.8 – Good Learning


Session 8: What Does Good Learning Look Like?

So far in GRAD602 we have explored perspectives in teaching, discussed what practices contribute to good teaching, reflected on ideas that constitute scholarly teaching, questioned our beliefs about learning and attempted to understand how emerging knowledge about learners might shape teaching. In this class session you’ll be asked to bring all of this to bear on thinking through one of two cases outlined below. “What does good learning look like?” serves as an overarching question for the context described in each of the cases.

Briefly review each of the cases in your small group.  Select one (1) case that your group will discuss in detail, and be prepared to share your response to the case in a whole class debriefing discussion.

The Cases

1) As a new faculty member, you’ve been asked to teach a large enrollment (150+ students) gateway undergraduate course within your department. This course has a reputation among students and faculty alike as a “weeder” course that routinely has D-F-W rates upward of 60% a semester. It is a requirement for several majors, and unfortunately, it’s a course that students don’t like to take and your colleagues don’t like to teach. In conversations with instructors who’ve taught the course previously, you learned that a high need for remediation, significant numbers of repeat students, a lecture-based approach, and covering large amounts of course material have been persistent features of the course. Your department chair has given you encouragement (some might say problem) to redesign the course in ways that increase student engagement & learning, and decrease the traditionally high D-F-W rates. Your chair has indicated that there are resources to support the redesign and teaching of the course. What new instructional approach(es) might you take here? What kinds of resources would you ask for? What changes might you make in the design of the course to increase student engagement and learning? What practices do you see as potentially having the greatest impact in reducing the D-F-W rates? How will you know if you’ve been successful?

2) Next semester, you’ll be teaching a new upper level course in your department that you proposed to your chair. You’ve taught a very similar course previously at another university, and while you received good feedback, you are also convinced that some fairly significant changes in your teaching approach and course design are needed to focus more on the ways students are learning. Your chair has indicated that subsequent offerings of the course will be determined by the feedback collected on student course evaluations at the end of the term. Where might you go for assistance in thinking through the changes in teaching you are considering? What information / data would be important to consider, in order to demonstrate whether your changes in teaching enhanced student learning or not? How might you encourage your chair to consider something in addition to course evaluations to assist with decision-making?


Open document for sharing ideas and responses to the cases.