We were honored and thrilled to read this account of our FaCTS summer seminar from Wiki Ed:
For the ninth year, faculty at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) have come together to experiment with new pedagogy in their classrooms. Their group, the Faculty Community of Teaching Scholars (FaCTS), is funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation and provides a stipend for participants to explore that year’s theme. The theme for academic year 2017–18 is “Making knowledge public using educational technology.” Dr. Megan Osterbur, who participates in Wiki Ed’s Classroom Program, helped organize this year’s group of selected applicants and saw a clear alignment with Wikipedia assignments. After all, Wikipedia serves as educational technology for student editors and is as public as knowledge gets in 2017.
The Faculty Communities of Teaching Scholars (FaCTS) initiative is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support faculty in planning and implementing innovative curriculum and/or pedagogical projects over the course of an academic year.
We would like to take a minute to congratulate the 2016 FaCTS Fellows. The Faculty Communities of Teaching Scholars (FaCTS) initiative is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support faculty in planning and implementing innovative curriculum and/or pedagogical projects over the course of an academic year. Each year, we select a pedagogical theme that addresses the needs of the university. The theme for the coming year is Inverted Teaching, commonly referred to as "flipping the classroom". Each of the awardees below submitted a proposal to modify an existing course to incorporate the ideals of inverted teaching.
Cary Caro, Assistant Professor, Division of Business
Project title: "Inverting BSAD 2200: Balancing the Global Perspective"
Kelly Johanson, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry Project title: "CHEM 4140: Converting Metabolism into a Flipped Course"
Wyndi Ludwikowski, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology Project title: "Inverting the Psychological Statistics Classroom"
Elizabeth Manley, Associate Professor, Department of History Project title: "Teaching History in the Archives: Inverting a Research Methods Course"
Ariel Mitchell, Assistant Professor, Division of Education Project title: "Experiential Learning of Career and Lifestyle Development"
Ifeanyi Onor, Assistant Professor, Division of Clinical and Administrative Sciences Project title: "Implementation of Inverted Learning Strategy in Applied Pharmacokinetics"
Megan Osterbur, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science Project title: "Activating Black Politics using the Inverted Classroom"
Richard Peters, Assistant Professor, Division of Business Project title: "Freshening Up Freshman Seminar: Creating an Environment of Expectancy, Excitement, and Empowerment"
Cirecie West-Olatunji, Associate Professor, Division of Education Project title: "Use of Inverted Teaching to Facilitate the Integration of Social Action and Advocacy within Counselor Identity among Graduate Counseling Students"
In May, the FaCTS Fellows will participate in a week of intensive training to learn about the theories behind and the best practices for inverted teaching. Lisa Schulte-Gipson, Associate Professor of Psychology, will serve as the faculty coordinator for the 2016 cohort. During the 2016/2017 academic year, the FaCTS Fellows will offer their redesigned courses at Xavier.
Over the past year or two I've become increasingly interested in the idea of contemplative pedagogy. This is the notion that we can foster a more thoughtful way of living and learning in our students and in ourselves by cultivating reflective and meditative practices in our teaching.
To this end, I've relished the opportunity to engage in a series of discussions on this topic with faculty, and I've challenged myself to incorporate contemplative practices into these sessions whenever appropriate.
Most recently I had the opportunity to lead a short discussion with participants in the Faculty Communities of Teaching Scholars. Our theme this year is "Promoting Critical Thinking and Self-Authorship in the First Two Years." Contemplative practices seem like a perfect fit for developing self-authorship, and so once again I attempted to teach by example. As we were thinking so intensely about our students' needs and capacities, I decided to conduct a loving-kindness meditation. Also known as Metta Bhavana, this is an ancient practice from the Buddhist tradition. I modified the typical practice to focus specifically on our students.
In some ways, I may have been overreaching. I am not a practicing Buddhist, and more to the point I had never done Metta Bhavana before. Nevertheless, I went forward with it. I even went so far as to rearrange our classroom into a configuration more conducive to the practice.
I was fairly pleased with the results. Certainly I did get some good feedback from the participants, with at least one person saying she repeated the practice later on her own time. That's wonderful.
All the same, in some ways I consider the exercise at least a partial failure. The problem was not the practice itself, I think, so much as what followed. I was so intent on preparing for the Metta Bhavana itself that I did not attend to the context. I failed to make a strong connection between the meditative practice and the larger conversations that had been emerging in the classroom over the previous days. That left some participants wondering what to make of it all.
But if this was a failure, at least it was an educational and perhaps necessary one. I learned a valuable lesson. Several in fact. Always attend the context. Always make the connection. When trying something new, don't neglect these important basics.