The group of SoN faculty and academic technology staff who are participating in the Idea Exchange Project met for the first time today, Dec. 11.
Our introductory meeting, with 11 people in attendance, included a brief overview of the plan for this semester, as well as general goals for the group: at each future meeting we will read a section of the teaching / learning theory part, which we will then discuss, and relate to our own teaching experience, followed by a review of several sample teaching strategies (or CoLTs, as the book calls them – short for Collaborative Learning Techniques).
We then discussed the introductory chapter, focusing on the distinctions between collaborative vs. cooperative learning (as defined by the book authors), and how those two different approaches to learning relate to our teaching experience.
An aspect of cooperative learning that generated lively discussion was students’ group and individual accountability for group projects, and the most practical ways to implement a constructive way to assess such projects. As a result, at our next meeting we will take a moment to look at an example of peer evaluation approach that is used in one of the popular MOOCs, and uses Qualtrics (available to us at UW) to let students provide peer feedback on shared project, and rubrics that help students accomplish that.
We also talked about the intentional design aspect of collaborative learning strategies (as defined in the box on page 4), and used online discussions (both exemplary, and dysfunctional) as a point to illustrate the importance of carefully planning teaching strategies.
Our first meeting concluded with a brief think-pair-share activity (in fact, CoLT #1 in the book, p.152), in which we shared the most memorable best and most challenging group activities in the courses we have taught, or taken as students.
Our next meeting is on January 15, 2016 (see the project page for a complete list of meeting dates, times, and readings)