Dear CASL Faculty -
There has been a good deal coming at you these last few years with regard to teaching, including:
- efforts to enliven the curriculum and to reduce high D,E,W courses
- online course development
- CASL’s Practice-Based Learning (PBL) Initiative
- an increased emphasis on student retention, and
- the Four-Credit Transition Initiative
And, with much of this occurring amidst a pandemic! At times it may seem as if you are being asked to spin plates while riding a unicycle, with more and more plates being added. Recently, I had a conversation with the HUB director, Carla Vecchiola, about faculty feeling overworked and the Dean's Office's concern regarding faculty fatigue.
As part of that conversation, Carla and I discussed how the above efforts are interconnected, particularly if we focus on student learning. Each of these initiatives has the potential to promote student learning and retention - online course development (increased student accessibility to our courses), PBL (student engagement, linking curriculum to career), and 4 credit courses (fewer courses for students to manage). When these efforts are considered as different paths to the same goal - serving our students more effectively - they may seem more manageable, cohesive, and perhaps even motivating.
Carla and I also discussed the link between developing quality online courses and untethering oneself from the classroom; that credit hours need not be tied to time in the classroom, but instead to student time on task, what is being learned, faculty guidance, and the breadth and depth of assignments and projects. For those considering converting courses from 3 to 4 credits, it may be effective to free yourself from the notion that an additional credit hour must equal an additional hour in the classroom.
The good news is that we have resources to help you balance some of this work with the many other demands on your time.
Here are some ways that you can contribute to the efforts outlined above: