February 9, 2017

Leading Educator and Scholar Leads Workshop on Pedagogy

A two and a half day workshop recently engaged a group of 22 faculty members representing a variety of disciplinary perspectives on designing curriculum with emergent outcomes. Jointly supported by the grant Digital Directions for the Arts and Humanities, awarded to the College in 2014 by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Guilford’s Office of Faculty Development, the workshop was led by Jesse Stommel, executive director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies at University of Mary Washington. Stommel, who describes himself as a relentless experimenter with both analog and digital interfaces, emphasizes new forms of collaboration in his teaching and research. He is co-founder of the Digital Pedagogy Lab and Hybrid Pedagogy, an open access, peer reviewed digital journal of learning, teaching and technology.

Held in Hege Library’s new Teaching, Learning and Research Collaboratory, the workshop introduced faculty to design thinking as a collaborative approach for supporting empathetic and creative problem solving. It also explored methods and approaches for designing courses and assignments that leverage digital tools and innovative pedagogies. In addition to crafting, collaborating, and experimenting as a group, faculty participants considered a number of foundational readings and a variety of new digital tools. Stommel also facilitated discussion on assessing digital and other non-traditional student endeavors. Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Faculty Development Maria Rosales remarked, "Faculty involved in this experience particularly appreciated the time to reflect collaboratively on their syllabi and assignments and to share ideas with their colleagues about specific ways to respond to challenges.”

The design-thinking context was particularly valued. Associate Professor and Chair of Art Kathryn Shields, in reflecting on the experience, observed, "Jesse is an inspired teacher who embodies design thinking in his own pedagogy. We brainstormed assumptions and challenges about teaching, strategized assignments, built prototypes of classrooms and revisited our conclusions through iterative processes over the course of several days. The methods we used provide a great potential model for not only our new experience design (XD) program, but also our future curriculum. Many of us came away with renewed energy and what we dubbed ‘micro-positivities’ to take with us into the semester.”