Kellie is a new faculty member and has been working hard to get ready to teach her courses. She feels pretty good about her preparation and can’t wait until the semester starts. Kellie has a real passion for learning and for teaching, and she hopes to pass it on to her students. After all, many of them will soon be classroom teachers, and she hopes they will be better prepared than she was. It was only a few years ago that she was a middle-school teacher herself, and she clearly remembers how surprised she was by the number of students with disabilities who were included in her classes.
Kellie got her doctorate and became a faculty member because she wanted to help others be better prepared to work in the schools. She hopes she can do a good job. While she believes her undergraduate preparation to be solid, she knows she learned too little about meeting the needs of exceptional students.
However, there’s one thing she knows for sure: As a college professor, she does not want to slip into the kind of instruction that used to drive her crazy as an undergrad, like class after class of impersonal lectures. She wants to be an effective professor so that her students avoid the “information overload” experienced by many of her undergraduate peers. Kellie’s convinced that her own instruction needs to be a good model for instruction, one that her students can reference for their own future use. That, she hopes, will give them a much-needed advantage when they accept their first teaching positions. Her own teaching and experience has given her many clues about what this model should look like. But she wonders, is she ready for prime time?
Fortunately, Amani, a tenured faculty member, was assigned as her mentor. Kellie and Amani really get along, and Amani wants to help Kellie become a great instructor. She told Kellie about an online module that deals with the issue of how people learn. She thought it might be helpful. In fact, Amani actually suggested they work through the module together by discussing its content after she finished each section. Kellie thought this was a great idea, and they set up some days and times to meet across the next several weeks.
Here’s your challenge:
How can faculty present important content to be learned in ways that improve student learning?
Is there a tool or format that helps faculty organize effective instruction?
Are there modules available for faculty use that are based on learning science research and, therefore, really do increase student learning? If so, how can faculty use them?