Eight members of the Tusculum College faculty recently attended the Appalachian College Association’s Teaching and Learning Institute at Brevard College to focus on incorporating new teaching methods into the curriculum of a course at the College they currently teach.
The conference, which was held June 1-5, focused on active learning, significant learning and effective grading. The participants spent the week in class and then while at the conference began incorporating the new teaching and learning methods into the curriculum of their existing courses. Presentations of the new curriculum were shared at the end of the conference.
The Teaching and Learning Institute provides hands-on experience with a variety of techniques for classroom instruction and assessment, particularly applicable to the learning styles of today’s college students.
Attending from Tusculum College were Anne Reever Osborne, assistant library director for distance learning; Dr. Taimi Olsen, professor of English; Dr. Kirpal Mahal, professor of physical education; Dr. Michelle Freeman, associate professor of business administration; Dr. Tom Harlow, assistant professor of psychology; Barth Cox, assistant professor of film and broadcasting; Dr. Nancy Thomas, associate professor of English, and Dr. David Key, assistant professor of history.
While the group worked independently, many of the courses focused on overall techniques that could be integrated into any classroom experience, said Osborne. “It was a chance to recharge - to rethink the way things are done.”
The program had something to offer for both new instructors and those who have been teaching for many years, according to Mahal, and he pointed out his appreciation to Dr. Kim Estep, provost and vice president of academic affairs and Dr. Lisa Johnson, director of the school of education and the director for Graduate and Professional Studies in Northeast Tennessee, for encouraging and recommending him to attend the institute.
“Even though I have three teaching and two coaching certifications from prestigious universities/institutions in India and have taught for numerous years, I learned a lot at the ACA Teaching and Learning Institute. I would like to say that if a faculty member wants to learn, change and become an effective teacher, this institute is worth the time and effort,” said Mahal.
Estep said 27 Tusculum College faculty have participated in the Teaching and Learning institutes since its inception in 2003.
“This is an opportunity to learn from scholars in the field of student learning and learning assessment, to network with faculty at similar institutions and to engage in exciting new projects to revitalize their work in the classroom. The Institute helps our faculty stay on the cutting edge of the discipline of teaching and learning, which is fundamental to carrying out our mission as a student-centered college,” said Estep.
“Kudos to Tusculum College and to the ACA organization for providing this opportunity, said Thomas. “I especially appreciated the chance to interact with and learn from ACA colleagues. I have pages of notes and stacks of information on effective grading/assessment and integrated course design that I will use to update my teaching strategies.”