Learner-Centered Syllabi Gems (#Gedivt S17)

As promised, I’m posting an assortment of “gems” from the draft syllabi we workshopped in Grad 5114 a few weeks ago. This collection is suggestive rather than exhaustive, and I’ve removed names unless you specifically indicated that it was ok to include them.  Lots of inspiration here!

Healing Gems. Public Domain

Course Descriptions / Introductions:

Whether or not you all realize it, you have had some experience with weed science and make choices every day that have large implications on the field as a whole, like what we choose to eat for lunch. We can all learn from each other’s varied experiences. As an instructor, I strive to set up a collaborative learning environment, where no experience is too small to discuss and no pertinent topic is left untouched.”

Welcome to the world of sensory science! In case you haven’t noticed, we humans are equipped with a very sophisticated set of tools (i.e. sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch) that dictate how we interact with the world around us. In the field of sensory science, we seek to study, measure, and analyze these responses to gain a better understanding of human behavior. Traditional sensory analysis focuses on using a stimuli’s appearance, texture, aroma, and flavor to study consumer response, but the field is continually evolving to use more interdisciplinary approaches. Whether or not you intend to become a sensory scientist, my goal is to provide you with valuable insights on how your own body serves as a tool in your decision making process.”

“Welcome to Digital Logic Design! This is one of the first courses in the electrical engineering discipline, and it is both exciting (to practice electrical engineering for the first time) and scary (practicing electrical engineering for the first time!) Believe it or not, this course is merely an extension of second and third- grade arithmetic, which we will refer to repeatedly throughout our journey together this semester. It is a common student misconception that digital logic design is “difficult,” and it is my objective to free you from that perception so that we may enjoy our course together, and so that your grading outcome will be favorable.”

This course is designed to make you think like a sociologist. When you engage social events, political debates, watch tv, walk the dog, visit across country or travel abroad, this course will train you to see everyday experiences through a sociological lens. The information in this course will present examples and theory that will help you to better understand the world that you are in. Not only will this course help you to understand the world around you, but it will also help you to understand yourself as a social construction of identities. This course is student-centered, I the instructor will also be in the process of learner along with the students in this course.”

I’m SO glad you are here! And that you chose Biological Systems Engineering! Together we are going to explore what it means to be a biological systems engineer, as well as the fundamental concepts of our field! This course is your first introduction to our department from which we will build a foundation for your future coursework and engineering career. We will discuss the many different aspects of our field from protein separation to microbial metabolism to infiltration rates of rainfall. We will also work to apply the engineering design process, different engineering problem-solving tools & techniques, and both written and oral communication skills to contemporary issues and topics specific to our field”

Public Speaking Graphic from Syllabus
Graphic Representation of Course Goals

Flexible Engagement / Learning Strategies:

Discussion, reflection, and interaction are essential to understanding the complex issues we will examine. As a result, active participation from all students is expected. Not only should you respond to instructor questions and prompts but also engage with fellow students on issues they raise. I encourage students to bring their unique perspectives to the material and to discussions, supporting it with citation from course readings or otherwise when appropriate. Listening to alternative perspectives is equally important to sharing your own. Disagreement will likely occur and critical reflection is encouraged. However, courtesy and respect are essential.”

“Though I will host a weekly in-person lecture covering the class material, I will provide all of the lecture material and additional resources online. So if you would prefer to learn the material from the comfort of your own home instead of in class, then please feel free to do so. I will also record the weekly lectures and post them in Canvas prior to Thursday’s lab. The benefit of coming to lecture is that you will have a chance to directly engage with me and ask any questions you may have. Alternatively, you are welcome to come engage with me during my weekly office hour.”

“Learning squads are self-contained semi-autonomous teams to facilitate, conduct, and reinforce learning within this course. Beginning in week 3, Professor M will organize the class into learning squads of 4-5 members each. Thereafter, class exercises, assignments, assessments, and projects will be conducted in learning squads. Ideally a squad will meet or collaborate within our assigned class meeting time and outside of class as needed to complete your learning objectives. The squad is a resource for every member to support individual and group learning, to help you reflect on your learning and learn about yourself as a learner, and to practice teamwork and leadership.”

This course is not for those who are in love with “getting the right” answers. It is far more important that students demonstrate proficiency in analysis. To that end, the questions are the most important part of this class. Philosophy and politics are full of ambiguity and this requires would-be learners to be comfortable with debate and interpretation.”

“Given that folks learn, and excel, in learning, improving, and applying the concepts we discuss in various ways, there will be a number of opportunities for you to choose the path you take through the course. Some things I will make common among all the different tracks, but otherwise you get to pick what you do to work towards the goal you have for this class and semester.”

Last but not least: A Learner-Centered Course using critical and inclusive pedagogy to explore the ethics of killing things.

 

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