This Old Course is a series of workshops offered in the Summer by the Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning (CSTL).

The primary goal of the series is to show Southeast faculty that they’re already teaching in ways the best college educators teach.

Faculty often feel pressured to completely redesign a course—new content, new assessments, new approach. Instead, the CSTL wanted to offer workshops that would encourage renovation, not redesign. Renovation means retaining existing structures, examining them for repair or replacement and otherwise keeping what’s successful.

Good teaching should continually evolve. Courses themselves change in small increments from semester to semester. Assignments are replaced. Test questions are updated. Textbooks are revised. Powerpoints mature. Just as this evolution keeps teaching fresh, it should happen gradually and organically. Too much change to quickly can throw an instructor’s confidence off, which can negatively impact the cohesion of course design and structure, and it can damage student success. Good teaching moves slowly, deliberately, and organically.

Unfortunately, teaching remains a solitary act for most faculty, for a variety of reasons: a closed departmental culture, bad experiences in graduate school, general insecurity, etc. To support a gradual, steady rate of teaching growth, the CSTL developed a workshop series to assist Southeast faculty in examing their own teaching and allow them to determine for themselves what felt outdated and what felt important to keep.

Confident faculty teach better [see James Eison’s “Confidence in the Classroom: Ten Maxims for New Teachers.” College Teaching, 38 (1), 21-25.] Confidence comes from knowing what you’re doing is good, that it’s grounded in research, that there is no better way to teach a given content in a given context. By knowing the effectiveness of a teaching practice, supporting learners becomes a more straightforward affair. Learners sometimes complain when they’re asked to think differently than they’re used to or perform unfamiliar tasks. When faculty find new activities and assessments they know support learning, assessment becomes stronger, learning becomes more impactful, and teaching becomes fresh again.

This Old Course is series of eight two-hour workshops, each focused on a different element of teaching in higher education. The series takes faculty through a deconstruction and reconstruction of their teaching, and by the end of the series, participants can identify the strengths in their teaching, opportunities for advancing their teaching, and what changes to make should changes need made. Participants are assessed through a series of reflections and pointed questions related to each session.

No observable changes to teaching are required.

Faculty can participate in any single session, as sessions are designed as stand-alone workshops.

The sessions cover the following objectives:

Session One: Blueprints (What Worked, What Didn’t)

  • Assemble information of which course elements were most used.
  • Interpret user information and data.
  • Determine what course elements could use innovation.

Session Two: Permits and Demolition (Pedagogy)

  • Define what your teaching should do.
  • Reconcile your current teaching strategies with your ideal strategies.

Session Three: Framing (Content Delivery)

  • Identify delivery strategies that support and align with course content and theme.
  • Assess if current course materials engage students efficiently.
  • Adjust current course materials to engage students more effectively.

Session Four: Plumbing and Electrical (Assessments)

  • Assess the function and clarity of existing assessments.
  • Refine current assessment pieces to better meet the goals of the course and more clearly target the instruction.

Session Five: Drywall and Paint (Instructional Materials)

  • Articulate the role of texts in a course.
  • Identify the components of a successful text.

Session Six: Keeping Up with the Joneses (Community and Group Work)

  • Identify opportunities to develop community in a learning environment.
  • Determine if existing techniques for facilitating community in a learning environment are effective.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of group activity.

Session Seven: Flooring and Furnishing

  • Evaluate the current implementation of multimedia in a course.
  • Identify opportunities to implement multimedia activities and assessments.

Session Eight: The Reveal (Peer Review and Self-Assessment)

  • Assist other faculty in determining how their teaching is communicated.
  • Reconcile how your teaching is designed with how it is perceived.

All sessions are assessed with a 300-500 word reflection, submitted and scored within a private Moodle course page. Upon completion of the series, participants who attend six of the eight sessions and submit the reflection for each receive a digital badge.

Sessions begin the week after Finals Week in May. They occur twice per week, every two weeks until July. Event registrations open in April. We look forward to working with you in 2019!