The Scholarship of teaching and Learning Part 1

The Scholarship of teaching and Learning Part 1


♪ [music playing–
no dialogue] ♪♪. Good morning. (audience response).
Good morning. And welcome to our Spring
Faculty Development Workshop. Thank you for coming. To President Hencken and
Provost Lord, in their absense, our Vice Presidents and
Deans, and you, I would like to say thank you
for coming to the Scholarship of
Teaching and Learning. And I want to address one thing,
and that is, I hope that this session you will learn and find
the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of integration,
the scholarship of application, and the scholarship of teaching. Dean Bonnie Irwin, the
Dean of Honors College, has been providing training for
us here at EIU on this topic. She will come and introduce our
special guest, Dr. Craig Nelson. Dean Irwin. So now you know the real reason
I sat in the front row, I guess. I had the pleasure of attending
Dr. Nelson’s last workshop on campus, and I don’t want to
necessarily attach his presence to weather, but the last time
he was here we had an ice storm with four inches of snow. This time of course, it
was 80 degrees two days ago. [audience laughter]. I just want you to know that. (Dr. Craig Nelson).
You people have incredible hospitality. [audience laughter]. (Dr. Irwin).
But despite the weather, we are very glad to
have Dr. Nelson here as Professor Emeritus of
Biology at Indiana University, where he’s been since 1966. I won’t tell you how old
I was in that year, but–. (Dr. Nelson).
At least you were old. (Dr. Irwin).
I was. He has received both his PhD and
MA from the University of Texas. And he’s been the recipient of a
number of awards and fellowships during his career, including
the Outstanding Teaching Award, Outstanding Faculty Award,
and the Lilly Foundation Post-Doctoral
Teaching Fellowship. His biological research
is in evolution and ecology, and for those of you in the
Biological Sciences Department, I know you were benefitted
from the workshop he gave here in February on those topics. Some of his research
questions have included “Do Tadpoles Die For Their
Siblings?”, “Do Amphibians Feed or Exploit Ponds?”, “When, From
a Male Frog’s Point of View, Is Stealing a Mate Preferable to
Persuasion?”–your classes must be really interesting. “Why Should an Orchid
Scare Its Pollinators?”, and “Why Should Hot Eggs
Become Females In Turtles?” Alright, a nice range there. And he’s done extensive field
work in Latin America as part of his background, and
he’s here again to talk to us about the Scholarship
of Teaching and Learning. So, welcome, and I will now
turn it over to Dr. Nelson. [audience applause]. Thank you, very much. Well, I have to learn to hold
this in exactly the right place, and if my arm cramps
I’ll move it around. I’m delighted to be here despite
the fact that you always throw in a blizzard for me. [audience laughter]. I actually drove through snow
drifts in order to get over here this morning, which is quite a
contrast to what we had before it got close to the time
I needed to come over here. Working on a cold day, right? Scholarship of
Teaching and Learning. The problem with college
teaching has been that we have treated it primarily
as a question of content. Sometimes as of content and
skills, and we’ve focused on becoming experts in content,
but not experts in getting students to learn. And certainly not experts in
producing higher level education outcomes, like critical
thinking for starters, mature valuing in higher-level
communication, et cetera. I don’t know whether to say this
because it sounds alarmist, but two weeks ago
I read an article on the future of outsourcing. It said that outsourcing is
moving deeper and deeper into white collar jobs, and will soon
include things like faculty. And it listed faculty,
specifically, as prone for outsourcing. This, I think, is
because we have usually used a fixed pedagogy. Meaning, the faculty
member decides the content, decides the methods, and usually
delivers it with very little adaptive change to the student
body that they actually attract to that particular
section of the course. Partly because faculty
don’t have any frameworks for adaptive response. If we were trained, and most
of us were trained, since we started the Scholarship of
Teaching and Learning Program at IU-Bloomington, we have gone
from half a dozen departments offering graduate courses
for PhD students on teaching, or teaching and
Scholarship of Teaching, to 28 different departments. The History Department
alone offers six courses for PhD students in
teaching at the college level. The Biology Department
offers two, and the number of departments keeps growing. So we are now beginning to take
seriously training students for what they are actually
going to be doing, as well as for content and doing research. But for easily
three-quarters of our students, research is a minor part of our
doctoral students, research is a minor part of what they
actually do professionally. And most of their clock
hours are put in on teaching and service, so we’re
moving in that direction. Another way to draw the contrast
is, a large part of college and university
teaching has been dictated by disciplinary tradition. We have tended to teach
the way we were taught. The modifications to that
have mostly been idiosyncratic because we heard or learned
something about, well, somebody said maybe a little active
learning was a good thing, so we started doing a
little active learning. Not because we understood the
literature base, not because we really understood what really
makes active learning work, what it has to do with memory
span, or what it has to do with misconceptions, or what
it has to do with a variety of different frameworks. So there’s
traditional teaching, there’s idiosyncratically-
enriched teaching, there’s inscholarly teaching. There’s a phrase that’s
typically used for teaching that is based on a reasonably deep
understanding of the empirical basis for student success
and the theoretical frameworks. And then there’s scholarship
of teaching and learning, where you know those frameworks
and you treat some or all of your teaching as an
experiment, where you have a hypothesis of what is
required to make it work better than it did last year. And your gathering the data
to see whether the hypothesis was right, and also gathering
data, exploratory data, as to what other
hypotheses you might be using. Now, I can do two or
three subjects at this point. One is, I can point out that
one of the handouts is called “Getting Started in More
Effective College Teaching”. And I would say a definition of
scholarly teaching is someone who can list 20 publications
outside the discipline that have modified what they do in the
classroom, who have looked sufficiently at the literature
that they have 20 things that have made a difference
in how they teach. Otherwise you’re
primarily probably teaching idiosyncratically or from
disciplinary traditions. So this is the start
on finding the basics.

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