WGATL was a popular, funded faculty group that formed three cohorts of 16—summer 2014, summer 2015, and summer 2016. Members each redesigned a course, enhancing its creativity, interactivity, rigor, and skill building in keeping with research on how people learn.
In brief: research on teaching and learning indicates that active classes that ask students to grapple with authentic problems and questions, give prompt facilitative feedback, and align assignments and activities tightly and transparently with faculty goals have the potential to increase student learning. But how do we achieve this as individual faculty members—especially considering the particular strengths and challenges of our disciplines, classrooms, and students? The group provided an intriguing and supportive framework to help each participant find compelling answers to this question.
WGATL’s members, now all inducted into the Provost’s Teaching Academy, sought space, support, and camaraderie as they experimented with their courses, shifting some lecture time to participatory activities designed to boost critical thinking; or building peer-learning frameworks to enhance students’ sense of ownership of course material; or exploring what technology can do to enliven the classroom and serve as a vehicle for class interaction and creative production.
Participants in the Working Group had the chance to experience UO's LearnLabs, technology-rich, pod-style, active-learning classrooms, where they now enjoy priority course scheduling; and they discussed what sophisticated, active pedagogies can look like in any classroom or lecture hall on campus.
The Working Group on Active Teaching and Learning was hosted by UO Libraries Center for Media and Educational Technologies (CMET), the Yamada Language Center, and the Teaching Engagement Program.