I had the opportunity for an excellent discussion with a group of about 20 faculty today who are participating in the University Teaching project:

Many teaching programs at other schools follow what might be called the “expert model,” where purported pedagogical specialists dispense their wisdom to a passive audience of faculty. Our Teaching Project follows what we call the “collegial model,” where faculty learn from each other’s insights and experience in the classroom, often working in the same kind of flexible small-group settings that foster student learning. In short, the University Teaching Project models good teaching practices at the same time that it institutionalizes a dialogue on good teaching practices across campus.

I used the time to focus on two key questions that I’m wrestling with:

  1. To what extent do should William and Mary be trying to understand and respond to the changes in student learning preferences of the “Net Generation”.
  2. To what extent should the College be paying attention to some of the technological opportunities that could be made available by the move from a instructional paradigm to a learning paradigm.

The discussion was very far-ranging, but I was taken with how thoughtful most everyone was about the best ways to teach within their disciplines. My notes are on my mediawiki