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Learning Communities

The CFT hosts a number of learning communities, intended for members of Vanderbilt’s teaching community interested in meeting over time to develop deeper understandings and richer practices around particular teaching and learning topics. See below for information on the CFT’s 2018-19 learning communities.

Active Learning  |  Teaching, Difference, and Power: International Students
Teaching Digital Literacies | Teaching Design Thinking | Community Engagement

Active Learning

Active learning approaches improve students’ learning and have been shown to reduce disparities between different student subgroups. This leaning community will explore the principles behind effective active learning and will work together to develop individualized approaches for participants’ courses.

Contact CFT Associate Director Cynthia Brame if you’re interested in participating.

 

 

Teaching, Difference, and Power: International Students

Teaching, Difference, and Power

Teaching, Difference, and Power: Empowering International Students and Faculty
This year, the CFT continues its attention to issues of teaching, difference, and power by organizing a learning community dedicated to understanding and supporting the needs of international students and faculty. The hope for the group is to have a dynamic discussion of the many issues that arise for international students and faculty in the U.S. classroom, and the teaching approaches that may help both to thrive. The learning community meetings will involve informal discussions of pedagogical readings, teaching challenges, and practical strategies for improving our teaching and learning.


The topics covered will include but are not limited to…

  • Creating inclusive spaces for learning
  • Understanding biases towards international students and faculty
  • Engaging students of diverse national backgrounds
  • Supporting students for whom English is a second language
  • Student expectations in the U.S. as compared to other nations
  • Managing faculty authority in the classroom
  • Or, other topics decided by the group

The learning community will be open to both faculty and graduate students and will meet several times throughout the academic year.

Contact CFT Assistant Director Joe Bandy if you’re interested in receiving notices about the meetings.

 

Teaching Digital Literacies

How can we prepare students for a world where they both consume and produce media in a variety of digital forms? In this learning community, we will explore ways to teach digital literacies, the skills and competencies students need to thoughtfully learn, participate in, and contribute to our digital and multimedia culture.

 


How can we…

  • Help students become more critical consumers of information on social media?
  • Design authentic, multimodal assignments that prepare students to communicate effectively online?
  • Encourage students to engage in civil and productive dialogue in digital environments?
  • Prepare students to use digital tools not only as consumers of information, but also as producers of knowledge?
  • Collaborate with others to teach students skills we ourselves are still learning?

We’ll consider these and other questions through a series of conversations this year at the Center for Teaching.

See below for information on our fall conversations!


A Conversation on Critical Media Literacy

How can we help students become more critical consumers of media and information, particularly in online spaces?

Join us for a conversation on teaching critical media and information literacy at the Center for Teaching on Friday, September 14th, from 1:30 to 3:00pm.

Our panelists will be:

  •  Claire King, associate professor of communication studies
  •  Lisa Fazio, assistant professor of psychology and human development
  •  Frank Lester, librarian for government information
  •  Paige Clancy, student media adviser

Please let us know you’re coming.


A Conversation on Multimodal Assignments

How can we design authentic, multimodal assignments that prepare students to communicate effectively through a variety of media? How can we prepare students to use digital tools not only as consumers of information, but also as producers of knowledge?

Join us for a conversation on engaging students as producers of knowledge through multimodal assignments at the Center for Teaching on Tuesday, October 16, 2018, from noon to 1:30pm.

Our panelists will be:

 

  • Laura Carpenter, associate professor of sociology
  • Karla McKanders, clinical professor of law
  • Andrew Wesolek, director of digital scholarship and scholarly communications

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Please let us know you’re coming. Lunch will be provided!


A Conversation on Online Communities

How can we encourage students to engage in civil and respective dialogue in digital environments? How can we help our students learn to contribute productively to online communities?

Join us for a conversation on teaching students to particpate in online communities at the Center for Teaching on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, from 2:00 to 3:30pm.

Our panelists will be:

 

  • Jessie Hock, assistant professor of English
  • Amanda Little, writer-in-residence in English
  • Patrick Murphy, senior lecturer in Spanish

 

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Please let us know you’re coming.


Contact CFT Director Derek Bruff if you have questions about the Teaching Digital Literacies Learning Community.

 

Teaching Design Thinking

Design thinking, also called human-centered design, is an approach to creative problem solving useful in a wide variety of contexts. Design thinking consists of five steps: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Learning and applying this process can help students to tackle open-ended or ill-defined problems with creative confidence; to hear, understand, and value the perspectives of others; and to be resilient in the face of failure, knowing that the first solution to a problem is not always the best solution.

In support of Vanderbilt’s new DIVE (Design as an Immersive Vanderbilt Experience) initiative, the Center for Teaching is hosting a learning community for faculty, staff, and students who are interested in teaching design thinking. How can you introduce someone to the design thinking process? How can you integrate design thinking assignments in a course? How can you mentor a group of students applying design thinking to solve real problems? The learning community will address these and other questions, as well as share on- and off-campus resources for design thinking.

The learning community will be particularly useful for faculty and staff working with students in curricular or co-curricular contexts as part of DIVE, but all members of the Vanderbilt community interested in teaching design thinking are welcome to participate.

Contact CFT Director Derek Bruff if you’re interested in participating.

See below for information on our fall conversations!


Design Thinking at Elon University

Right around the time Vanderbilt launched a campus-wide design thinking initiative, Elon University in North Carolina did, too. Join us for a conversation (via Skype) with two of the leaders of Elon By Design:

  • Dawan Stanford, consulting director of design thinking, and
  • Rebecca Pope-Ruark, coordinator of the Design Thinking Studio in Social Innovation.

They will share their stories of launching design thinking programs at Elon, and discuss the challenges and opportunities that come with integrating design thinking in the undergraduate experience.

Thursday, September 27, 2018, from noon to 1:30pm at the CFT, lunch provided. Please register.


Education as a Design Process

Students in Vanderbilt’s Learning and Design M.Ed. program combine theories and principles from the learning sciences with processes and practices from user-centered design. Join us for a conversation on education as a design process with

  • Kristen Neal, lecturer in teaching and learning and director of the Learning and Design program, and
  • Melissa Gresalfi, associate professor of mathematics education and learning sciences.

They’ll share their experiences teaching in the Learning and Design program, and discuss implications for teaching students design thinking, and for the teaching we do more generally.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018, from noon to 1:30pm at the CFT, lunch provided. Please register.


Writing as a Design Process

There are some interesting parallels between human-centered design and writing. Just as designers use empathy to understand who they’re designing for, writers try to understand and connect with their audience. And just as writing involves brainstorming and revision, designing involves ideation and prototyping. Join us for a conversation on writing as a design process with

  • Haerin Shin, assistant professor of English, and
  • Matthew Worsnick, assistant professor of the practice of history of art.

They’ll share the parallels they see between writing and design, and discuss the implications for teaching in both areas.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018, from 11:30am to 1:00pm, at the CFT, lunch provided. Please register.


Contact CFT Director Derek Bruff if you have questions about the Teaching Design Thinking Learning Community.

Community Engagement

Community engagement pedagogies, often called “service learning,” are ones that combine learning goals and community service in ways that can enhance both student growth and the common good. In the words of the National Service Learning Clearinghouse, it is “a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.” This learning community will be an opportunity for Vanderbilt faculty to explore ways to incorporate community engagement into their courses in ways that maximize the benefits to students, community, and faculty themselves. The group will focus on several more specific goals throughout the year:

  • Discuss the benefits and challenges of community engagement
  • Learn about the ethics of community partnership
  • Build learning and project assessments
  • Incorporate best practices of reflection
  • Develop courses and projects with community engagement