Today I’m conducting a half-day pre-conference workshop on Designing Courses for Significant Learning (Fink 2003) for the Society of Biblical Literature annual conference. I’ve done this now for several years and have had the privilege of working with Biblical scholars from all over the world.
“For many students, social media tends to undermine academic research rather than support it–after all, what student in the throes of paper writing hasn’t grasped for momentary solace in Facebook, Instagram, or the latest Studio C comedy sketch video? But what if social media could actually help students write better papers?”
Great reading and insights about the changing role of the lecture at Universities by Harvard physics professor, Eric Mazur, “Twilight of the Lecture“. One of my favorite quotes, “He asserts that he is “far more interested in learning than teaching,” and envisions a shift from “teaching” to “helping students learn.” The focus moves away from the lectern and toward the physical and imaginative activity of each student in class.”
I have argued similar things about the origins of lectures and how they must be modified for learners today: “The Lecture: A Technology 562 Years Past Its Prime” and “Moving Beyond the Lecture.“
Back in 2009 I published a book entitled “Distance Education Innovations and New Learning Environments: Combining Traditional Teaching Methods and Emerging Technologies.” I explored strategies and best practices for designing Biblical Studies courses using blended learning methodologies. Though I predicted it in my book, I could not have imagined then how quickly blended learning approaches have become essential for achieving learning in all fields, and not just in Biblical Studies.
I had the pleasure to work with Rollin Hotchkiss, a gifted scholar and teacher of Civil Engineering at Brigham Young University. We did a qualitative research study on the value of project-based learning in engineering education to increase student interest, understanding, and their sense of relevance of the material. We published with the American Society of Engineering Educators “A Case Study of How Project-Based Learning Helps Increase Interest, Understanding, and Relevance in Engineering for Learners.”
Major take-aways: “Based on the collected data, students felt that the competitive project-based approach to learning was helpful to them. They were required to think in new and innovative ways and learn to enhance their communication and teamwork skills, though they thought the timing and the sequence of some aspects of the project-based portion of the course could be revised to better fit the course flow and structure. Students explained that when they were asked to find creative ways to teach the engineering principles to others they found greater relevance in the course material to their own lives and greater engagement to master the material.”
I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with the BYU Mechanical Engineering Capstone program. We surveyed hundreds of alumni of the Capstone program to gauge what was most valuable to them. We published our work through the American Society of Engineering Educators, “Industry Experience and Perspective: A Survey of Advice Brigham Young University Capstone Alumni Share with Incoming Students.”
Major take-away: “Provide students with many more project-based learning experiences in teams from the very beginning of their academic careers.” This is one of the reasons that I have started the BYU Creativity, Innovation, and Design Group. Our website is innovation.byu.edu.
Authors: Taylor Halverson, Robert Todd, Chris Mattson, and Gregg Warnick