A reflection from Patricia Steiner, Ed. D., recipient of an Open and Affordable Educational Resource Grant. 

 

In November, 2016, I was asked to take on the redesign of this Masters level class.  I have been working on it for the past 4 months.  This is a class that provides students the opportunity to reflect on their own leadership style, their strengths and weaknesses and to explore challenges that have faced other leaders who have had varying degrees of success.  The objective of this class is an understanding self, awareness of self, and how we are perceived by others.

I started designing this class in December, 2016.   Through my discussions with my instructional designer Carol Damm, it became increasingly important to try and do without the costly books and case studies used in the course as it was previously designed.  Week after week, I added videos and other materials to make up for and replace the text book and the case studies.  I love the book for this class.   The thought of doing this class without the book was difficult for me to consider.  By the time I was offered the grant from the Open Source effort, I had gotten my issues down to a short list and I still had the book in the class. With the help of Jason Bernard, materials were located to make up for the few areas of concern that would have been lost without the book.

There are so many free resources available today that paying for comparable materials doesn’t seem warranted especially given the cost of tuition.  Any way we can save students money is important.   I’m glad I have taken the time to do this in my class.

It is interesting to note that sometimes an expert librarian/researcher can find materials that I wouldn’t otherwise locate.  I have often wished that I had an embedded librarian in every class that I teach.

The library is a critical resource.  This project was valuable.  I learned quite a bit about design and availability of free materials.  Two sessions of the class will pilot in May.  I am looking forward to experiencing this new classroom and the reactions of the students who attend.

The Center for Teaching and Learning is hosting a two-day Teaching and Learning Institute. The institute, now on its second day, is engaging over a dozen Brandeis faculty and two international faculty on how to:

  • Foster more student learning with a variety of in-class and out-of-class methods.
  • Incorporate issues of diversity into your courses and create inclusive classrooms.
  • Use a powerful design method to revise and strengthen courses and assignments.

This workshop is intended for both early-career and well-established faculty – and past institutes have included participants from across the University sharing their knowledge of learning and teaching with their colleagues. As one participant wrote, “All (or most) faculty should participate in sessions like this, especially since many faculty members have never been trained in teaching methods.” The institute runs for two full days; participants attend both days and receive books and readings to help them continue to revise their teaching. The ideas you gain from the two-day Institute in May will likely save you much more than two days next year.

 

Inclusive Classrooms

May 18th, 2017

We consistently hear from faculty members that they’re eager to create an inclusive classroom. They sometimes struggle with addressing challenging conversations in the classroom, making students feel safe, and respecting students as they make controversial statements.

Our Diversity and Inclusion webpage has been built to help faculty address some of these issues in their classrooms. We recognize that asking for help on these issues is not always easy, so we hope this collection of articles and resources can support you. As always, if you’d like to set up a time to discuss these issues one-on-one, please email ctl@brandeis.edu.

Summer

May 10th, 2017

As the semester nears its end, it’s important to take a moment to reflect. We encourage you to look back on this academic year. What worked well in your classroom? How was your work-life balance? What do you wish you could change?

While summer is often a well-deserved time for rest, it’s also a time for planning. How will you improve your teaching next year? You may want to review our online library to read up on articles on a variety of pedagogical issues.  Do you think you can incorporate any of these suggestions into your classroom and research projects?

We’ll be reflecting on this year right along with you. We’re always open to suggestions, too. If you think there are resources we should provide you with or programs we can offer, please let us know by emailing ctl@brandeis.edu.