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Rethinking Teaching in Higher Education
From a Course Design Workshop to a Faculty Development Framework
Paper: 978 1 57922 047 1 / $29.95
Published: March 2004
Lib E-Book: 978 1 62036 039 2 / $95.00
About Library E-Book
Published: December 2011
6" x 9"
This book is intended for faculty and faculty developers, as well as for deans, chairs, and directors responsible for promoting teaching and learning in higher education. Intentionally non-technical, it engages readers reflectively with a process for developing teaching and details the planning necessary to apply this process to teaching within disciplines.
The book centers on McGill University’s week-long Course Design and Teaching Workshop that the contributors have offered together for more than ten years. It follows the five day format of the workshop–covering the analysis of course content, conceptions of learning, the selection of appropriate teaching strategies, the evaluation of student learning, and evaluation of teaching–in a way that reflects the spontaneity of the debates it has engendered and the workshop’s evolutionary changes.
The structure shows faculty members conceptualizing new courses or re-examining their teaching of existing courses, and translating the insights gained from the workshop to specific disciplinary content and learning outcomes. In addition four previous participants of the workshop write about its influence on their personal thinking about the practice of teaching.
The final two chapters describe the structure and evolving role of McGill’s Centre for University Teaching and Learning. The authors describe its objectives in fostering an evidence-based teaching culture and providing a practical support structure with limited resources. They highlight achievements in disseminating teaching expertise across their campus, and their vision for the future role of faculty development.
This book provides faculty developers and administrators with valuable non-prescriptive models and challenging ideas that promote faculty development in general and university teaching in particular. It engages faculty members in the process of course design in a way that is learning centered and can lead to deep student learning.
Reviews & Endorsements:
“If one could write the shortest review I would write: ‘read this book.’
It is well-designed and structured description of how to provide an environment conducive to reflection through meaningful dialogues and relevant and informative workshops [for faculty development]. The authors turn their attention to developing ways of teaching to support encourage and motivate student learning. This is done in the continued telling of the workshops’ progression through a number of activities that are structured in a cohesive and developmental manner – the facilitators model good practice in the development and delivery of the workshops. They note the usual issues that arise when lecturers are asked to change and adapt; such as the inevitable inflexible work spaces, large group sizes and lack of resources.
In conclusion, this book is highly readable, informative and engaging. It is a good text to have on the shelf, when pondering: what to do, why do I do this and what can I do to change others’ practice.”
- Quality Assurance in Education (Australia)
"Rethinking Teaching in Higher Education is directed at anyone in higher education charged with developing faculty: deans, department chairs, or other administrators with oversight of teaching and learning...You may find yourself wishing you were a participant in one of McGill University's workshops; perhaps one goal of this book is to encourage other schools to develop similar faculty development opportunities."
- Laura K. Simmons, George Fox Evangelical Seminary
Teaching Theology and Religion
"The staff of McGill University's Centre for University Teaching and Learning have done a wonderful job documenting a highly successful, week-long workshop for faculty that they've fine-tuned over the years. At the same time they've done what is often so difficult for us as faculty developers: describe in a very compelling way the impact of the workshop on their institution using the voices of faculty themselves. In the early chapters the volume provides a roadmap to the workshop, but then expands in scope considerably in later chapters, taking on the broader implications of faculty development."
- Virginia S. Lee, Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning, North Carolina State University
"Rethinking Teaching in Higher Education" brings to life the practice and scholarship of faculty development. By tracing the evolution of a course design workshop from the perspectives of faculty developers and participating colleagues from diverse disciplines, the authors provide rich insights into the development of teaching as creative, scholarly work. Their thoughtful analysis is an essential read for everyone with an interest in building teaching and learning capacity in higher education."
- K. Lynn Taylor, Director, Centre for Learning and Teaching, Dalhousie University
"For some years the McGill workshops on course design have been the definitive guide to planning new university courses. This book sets out the process for all to share, and is an invaluable resource for faculty who wish to scrutinize and enhance the quality of what they teach as well as how they teach. An impressive example and case study of reflection on teaching in practice!"
- Christopher Knapper, Professor Emeritus, Queen's University, Canada
"This book is a window into the world of instructional improvement. Through their analysis of a week-long course development workshop and other activities coordinated by a teaching center, as well as the testimony of the faculty who have participated in these programs, the authors show us how teaching can be transformed. The book will be useful to faculty developers seeking to articulate a conceptual framework for what they do and understand how to assess their impact, administrators wanting to know why and how to support teaching development, and faculty interested in course redesign. The careful and reflective chapters reveal much about the work of teaching improvement, which is often shrouded in mystery and routine practices. The field will benefit immensely from this work."
- Nancy Chism, Associate Vice Chancellor for Professional Development and Associate Dean of the Faculties at IUPUI
"An important text for all beginning and current professors in higher education. [it] can help professors learn how to make their course development activities and course evaluations more effective and purposeful."
- Journal of the Professoriate
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