Curiosity and Collaboration: A General Education Colloquium

Join these highly interactive sessions to engage in a series of cross-disciplinary dialogues about the teaching and learning throughout Penn State's general education curriculum. Each session will feature the work of different Penn State faculty members and/or students. Even if you aren't teaching general education courses (yet), you are welcome to join us for inspiration, conversation, and community. These events are a collaboration of the Schreyer Institution for Teaching Excellence and the Office for General Education.

Another Option? Exploring Student Voice and Choice in the College Classroom

Bryan Wang, Ph.D., Teaching Professor of Biology, Berks College, Penn State
Friday, February 9th @ 12:00pm
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Giving students a say in what, when, why, and how they learn—and demonstrate that learning—can foster inclusion and self-efficacy, engagement and commitment, and collaboration and creativity in our classrooms. Such practices may involve a shift not only in approaches, but in mindset—from “teacher as sole expert to both instructor and student as both teacher and learner”—and in the goals of our teaching and learning (Cook-Sather and Matthews, 2023). In this session, we will hear examples of student voice and choice projects that have been implemented in STEM and interdomain (GN and GH, GN and GA) general education courses as well as disciplinary courses and how students and teachers have responded. We then will explore together how to and why (and/or why not) invite students into the conversation and offer and guide them through choices in teaching and learning.

Small Team Problem-Based Learning in an Interdomain Course

Tim Kelsey, Ph.D., Professor of Agricultural Economics, College of Agriculture, Penn State
Thursday, March 21st @ 12:00pm
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In this interactive session, Tim Kelsey will share the design and implementation of a large enrollment, inter-domain general education course (CED 102N 'Wicked Problems: What's the Right Thing to Do?') which focuses on empowering students to wrestle with so-called wicked, or highly complex, global challenges. The course uses collaborative learning models in which small groups are tasked with writing research case studies addressing wicked challenges (of their choice), including topics such as homelessness, small town revitalization, adoption of electrical vehicles, solar energy and farmland loss, and invasive species. Data collected from students in the inaugural offering of the course suggest that desired learning outcomes, such as critical thinking, creative problem solving, and intrinsic motivation, can be reached through scalable, peer-driven approaches to teaching and learning.