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The Gray Box is operated by David Voelker, Associate Professor of Humanistic Studies and History at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. (More)

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Rethinking Content Coverage

UW-System Faculty College, UW-Richland, May 27-May 28, 2015

As experts in our disciplines and professions, we sometimes forget that we developed our mastery of content knowledge in tandem with—not prior to—our deep understanding, judgment-making abilities, and disciplinary skills. While it might be possible for students who are inundated with a large volume of content to retain some factual and conceptual information, a pedagogy driven primarily by the imperative to cover content leaves most students holding a bag of disconnected pieces—and the bag probably has a hole in it. Even “active learning” strategies focused on content mastery (isolated from application of content) can only go so far in helping students develop the deep understanding and disciplined modes of thinking that would allow them to apply what they know. This seminar will briefly make the case for moving beyond the pedagogy of coverage toward an intentional pedagogy of understanding, thinking, and application. Participants will learn about and discuss several concrete strategies for moving beyond coverage in a way that will allow students to practice applying “content” as they learn it deeply.

 

2015 UW Faculty College

 

Going Behind the Scenes of the Learning Process: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (with Regan A. R. Gurung)

UW-System Faculty College, UW-Richland, May 27-May 29, 2015

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) offers an exciting opportunity for higher educators to integrate teaching and research. SoTL scholars systematically inquire into their students’ learning using the tools of their own disciplines and other accessible methods. Participants in this interactive workshop, co-led by Professors David J. Voelker and Regan A. R. Gurung, will engage in an open discussion of the goals, challenges, and basic steps of pedagogical research. Participants should be prepared to discuss student learning and learning problems in a specific course, for which they will formulate a possible research question and will begin considering research methodologies. Attendees will learn about a range of research designs and methods to analyze findings that will complement their own disciplinary styles. In addition to improving their understanding of SoTL research methods, participants will discuss strategies for fine-tuning course learning goals and evaluation techniques.

 

Studying Your Students’ Learning: How to Get Started

University of Wisconsin-River Falls, January 21, 2015

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) offers an exciting opportunity for higher education professionals to integrate teaching and research. SoTL scholars conduct research into student learning primarily using the tools of their own disciplines. This participatory workshop will help faculty begin the process of developing a research question focused on a learning problem and on the collection and analysis of evidence of student learning. Participants will engage in an open discussion of the purposes and goals of SoTL, the challenges of doing SoTL research, and the basic steps for getting started as a SoTL researcher. Participants should be prepared to discuss student learning and learning problems in a specific course, for which they will formulate a possible research question and will begin considering research methodology.

 

Studying Your Students’ Learning: How to Get Started

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, October 3, 2014

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) offers an exciting opportunity for higher education professionals to integrate teaching and research. SoTL scholars conduct research into student learning primarily using the tools of their own disciplines. This participatory workshop will help faculty begin the process of developing a research question focused on a learning problem and on the collection and analysis of evidence of student learning. Participants will engage in an open discussion of the purposes and goals of SoTL, the challenges of doing SoTL research, and the basic steps for getting started as a SoTL researcher. Participants should be prepared to discuss student learning and learning problems in a specific course, for which they will formulate a possible research question and will begin considering research methodology.

 

KEYNOTE: Why You Should Study Your Students’ Learning

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, October 2, 2014

We rightly praise innovation in higher education, whether it comes in the form of new active learning exercises, creative assignments, or purposeful use of technology. But we too often move from one new strategy to the next without carefully evaluating the effectiveness of each innovation for improving student learning. The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) offers a vehicle for combining scholarship and teaching with an intentional focus on student learning. This interactive keynote will explore the rationale and power of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and will make a case that higher educators from all across the university should consider studying their own students learning as a way of advancing not only their own teaching practice but also that of their fields.

 

Rethinking Content Coverage

UW-System Faculty College, UW-Richland, May 28-May 29, 2014

As experts in our disciplines and professions, we sometimes forget that we developed our mastery of content knowledge in tandem with—not prior to—our deep understanding, judgment-making abilities, and disciplinary skills. While it might be possible for students who are inundated with a large volume of content to retain some factual and conceptual information, a pedagogy driven primarily by the imperative to cover content leaves most students holding a bag of disconnected pieces—and the bag probably has a hole in it. Even “active learning” strategies focused on content mastery (isolated from application of content) can only go so far in helping students develop the deep understanding and disciplined modes of thinking that would allow them to apply what they know. This seminar will briefly make the case for moving beyond the pedagogy of coverage toward an intentional pedagogy of understanding, thinking, and application. Participants will learn about and discuss several concrete strategies for moving beyond coverage in a way that will allow students to practice applying “content” as they learn it deeply.

 

Going Behind the Scenes of the Learning Process: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (with Regan A. R. Gurung)

UW-System Faculty College, UW-Richland, May 28-May 30, 2014

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) offers an exciting opportunity for higher educators to integrate teaching and research. SoTL scholars systematically inquire into their students’ learning using the tools of their own disciplines and other accessible methods. Participants in this interactive workshop, co-led by Professors David J. Voelker and Regan A. R. Gurung, will engage in an open discussion of the goals, challenges, and basic steps of pedagogical research. Participants should be prepared to discuss student learning and learning problems in a specific course, for which they will formulate a possible research question and will begin considering research methodologies. Attendees will learn about a range of research designs and methods to analyze findings that will complement their own disciplinary styles. In addition to improving their understanding of SoTL research methods, participants will discuss strategies for fine-tuning course learning goals and evaluation techniques.

 

Beyond Coverage: Backward Design for Disciplinary Thinking (with Joel Sipress)

University of Wisconsin-Superior, August 19, 2013

This seminar will show participants how to use a backward design process to move beyond coverage for the sake of coverage and into the realm of teaching (and assessing) disciplinary thinking in both general education and disciplinary courses. In this approach, disciplinary content becomes the raw material for an exploration of the key ways of constructing knowledge that constitute disciplinary modes of thinking. Assessments focus less on demonstration of content knowledge and more on the disciplinary application of content knowledge to authentic questions and problems. In the morning session, Joel Sipress (UW Superior) and David Voelker (UW-Green Bay) will draw on case studies from various disciplines to introduce a backward design process that can be used to refocus course design on disciplinary thinking. In the afternoon session, participants will apply this process to one of their own courses. The afternoon session will be divided into two tracks: 1) General education courses; 2) Courses that primarily serve disciplinary majors and minors. This seminar will help participants clarify learning goals, bring assignments and exams into alignment with these goals, and better use classroom activities to cultivate student learning.

 

An Introduction to Scholarly Teaching and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

UW-System Faculty College, UW-Richland, May 28-31, 2013

Faculty College, May 30, 2013

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) offers an exciting opportunity for higher educators to integrate teaching and research. SoTL scholars conduct research into student learning using the tools of their own disciplines and other accessible methods. Scholarly teachers may stop short of publication, but they also apply pedagogical research to course design and systematically inquire into their students’ learning. Participants in this interactive workshop will engage in an open discussion of the goals, challenges, and basic steps of pedagogical research. Participants should be prepared to discuss student learning and learning problems in a specific course, for which they will formulate a possible research question and will begin considering research methodology. (Sponsored by OPID, the Office of Professional and Instructional Development for the University of Wisconsin System.) 

Faculty College, May 30, 2013

 

Beyond Coverage: Backward Design for Disciplinary Thinking (with Joel Sipress)

Professors Joel Sipress and David Voelker will use case studies from various disciplines to guide participants through a backward design process that they can use to push general education courses beyond content coverage -- toward helping students to use course content to think in disciplinary ways.  In this suggested approach to general education coursework, disciplinary content becomes the raw material for an exploration of the key ways of constructing knowledge that constitute disciplinary modes of thinking.  Assessments focus less on demonstration of content knowledge and more on the disciplinary application of content knowledge to authentic questions and problems. 

 

Getting Started Doing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

UW-System Faculty College, UW-Richland, May 29-June 1, 2012

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) offers an exciting opportunity for higher education professionals to integrate teaching and research. SoTL scholars conduct research into student learning primarily using the tools of their own disciplines. This participatory workshop will help faculty begin the process of developing a SoTL research question focused on a learning problem and on the collection and analysis of evidence of student learning. Participants will engage in an open discussion of the purposes and goals of SoTL, the challenges of doing SoTL research, and the basic steps for getting started as a SoTL researcher. Participants should be prepared to discuss student learning and learning problems in a specific course, for which they will formulate a possible research question and will begin considering research methodology.  (Sponsored by OPID, the Office of Professional and Instructional Development for the University of Wisconsin System.)