Faculty Newsletter

ACTL

ACTL – Augustana Center for Teaching and Learning (formerly CSTL, Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning)

The Augustana Center for Teaching and Learning (ACTL) has been established to promote teaching excellence and scholarship through an assortment of seminars, workshops and resources. The ACTL will have two main goals for the 2007-2008 academic year – to provide resources and programming for new faculty and for teaching and learning resources for continuing faculty. The objectives of ACTL are as follows:

  • to emphasize the importance of student learning in the classroom
  • to offer a variety of faculty development opportunities to improve one's teaching;
  • to provide opportunities for faculty across disciplines to come together and share ideas
  • to provide individual consultation as needed
  • to provide orientation and ongoing programming for new faculty
  • to continually assess faculty needs and solicit ideas for ACTL programming.

 

Jon Clauss has developed the use of reading questions in his class. He describes his work in this first weekly faculty narrative, a new feature that will help us all to share the innovations we are nurturing in the classroom.

Jon Clauss

Like many teachers, I often found myself disappointed at the beginning of class when trying to discuss a topic that had been covered in the reading assignment for the day. A couple of years ago I started to address this problem using Reading Questions.

After making a reading assignment, I use email to send out a question (or a set of questions) to the members of the class. I try to craft questions that are fairly easy to answer if the student has done the reading, but very difficult if not. The point of the questions is to make sure that they have done the reading, not necessarily to jump-start the upcoming discussion.

In order to give students as much flexibility in managing their workload as possible I send out the questions shortly after the class session, but before the discussion is to take place. I award 2-3 points in order to give them the incentive to answer and they can respond anytime before the beginning of class. Even though this usually adds up to only about 5% of the total points, I have found it to be a sufficient incentive. As a side benefit, I have often found it to be an excellent way to detect misunderstandings in some of the more complicated readings. I am then able to adjust the questions and lecture to clarify the difficult concepts.

The time spent managing the e-mails has been well worth it given the increase in participation in discussions following a reading assignment

 

ACTL Moodle Site contains resources, schedule of events and blogs of events that pertain to the improvement of teaching and learning for faculty. The ACTL page is divided into three main categories: New Faculty Programs, Teaching and Learning Resources and Teaching Writing: Reading Groups and Workshops. The site address is [moodle.augustana.edu]

 

The September 2007 issue of The Teaching Professor is here .

 

On Course Newsletter: Anyone is welcome to subscribe to this free Newsletter. To subscribe send a blank message to OnCourse-on@mail-list.com

 

Call for Proposals to attend the Professional and Organizational Network Conference in Pittsburgh , PA – October 25-28

One of the better conferences on teaching and learning. Theme for this year's conference at the end of October is making choices about our purpose and priorities in the academy. Specific topics include: assessment and evaluation, diversity, instructional development, learning theories and research, strategies for small colleges and technology.

Three faculty stipends are available (flight, hotel, conference registration and meals). 1-2 page proposal to include:

  • Teaching pedagogy you wish to change, improve, investigate.
  • How you hope to incorporate this pedagogy in a class.

We hope to select faculty that have not had the opportunity to pursue a new teaching pedagogy at a teaching and learning conference. Those selected will be asked to report back either in a written report or workshop on campus, on the effectiveness of this new pedagogy after the course implementation and completion. Proposals should be sent electronically to Michael Green. Due date for proposals will be Monday, September 10 by 4:30 p.m.

Augustana College | 639 38th Street | Rock Island, IL 61201-2298