Developing relationships, sharing knowledge, and connecting instructors with resources is central to the Active Learning Community's mission. To that end, the Community holds regular meetings relating to active learning spaces, technology, and pedagogy. These events are open to faculty and staff that are engaged in active learning or interested in learning more. These gatherings are planned around the interests of attendees. If you have an idea for a future Community event, please let us know. If you would like to receive an email about upcoming events as they are announced, become a member of the Active Learning Community.
Wednesday August 28, 11am-3pm, Richard Weeks Hall - Room 206
This half-day session will explore the fundamentals of active learning. Instructional Designers will discuss the pedagogic underpinnings of collaboration-based learning that can inform course design, class management, and more. Instructional technologists will introduce you to the classrooms and technology that can enhance your teaching. Finally, conversations with colleague and staff who are both new to and versed in active learning will help you build valuable relationships and learn from the experience of other faculty.
While Active Learning 101 is required for faculty using Rutgers-New Brunswick active learning spaces for the first time, anyone who is interested in learning more about active learning is welcome to come. Lunch will be provided.
If you would like to attend, sign up on the registration page.
On May 17th, 2016, more than seventy-five faculty and staff met in Tillett Hall for a day of talks, workshops, panels, and more designed for those engaged and interested in active learning. Commencing with a keynote from SCALE-UP pioneer Dr. Robert Beichner, the day also included technology demonstrations, course construction workshops, and presentations from RU faculty using active learning in their courses. Visit the 2016 Boot Camp page for full details, including videos and slide shows.
The 2017 Active Learning Boot Camp built on the success of the previous year, highlighting Rutgers' new spaces. Dr. Maryellen Weimer, from Penn State, joined us to lead an interactive discussion on how, when, and why to incorporate active learning into a course. The day also features an active learning tools round-robin that let guests interact with Rutgers-New Brunswick's newest collaborative spaces, a faculty panel, and sessions on course design. Visit the 2017 Boot Camp page for recaps and links.
On May 15th, 2018, more than 170 faculty and staff from Rutgers and other institutions of higher education met in the Rutgers Academic Building for a day focused on innovations in active learning. Scholars shared their experiences using gamification, simulation technology, team-based learning, and more. Keynote presenter Dr. Kimberly Tanner led two interactive workshops highlighting the importance of how activities are ordered in class and what impact non-content talk can have on students. Visit the Symposium page for full details, including summaries and slide shows.
The 2019 edition of RALS provided multiple frameworks and case studies for exploring active learning. Special guest Dr. Idaykis Rodriguez joined us from Florida International University to discuss modeling instruction and designing courses from a student-centered perspective. Faculty from Rutgers and other institutions spoke about their experiences and research in various areas of active learning. Technology experts discussed news tools developed and used at Rutgers that can facilitate collaborative learning. Finally, students shared their experiences learning in active learning classes and facilitating group work as Learning Assistants. The Symposium also served as a chance to highlight some of Rutgers' newest general-purpose Active Learning Spaces in Richard Weeks Hall. Visit the 2019 RALS page for more information about the day's various sessions.
This half-day session provides an entry point for instructors who are new to active learning methods and classrooms. Attendees learing about the pedagogic underpinnings of active learning, design activities to use in their classes, see demonstrations of technology and other useful resources, and speak with Rutgers faculty who utilize active learning in their classes. Learn more on the Active Learning 101 page.
At the first gathering of the Active Learning Community on October 23, 2015, faculty and staff met in the new collaborative space in the Livingston Learning Center. The active learning initiative kicked off with an introduction to active learning, a discussion of design features for new active learning spaces, and brainstorming about the type of pedagogic support faculty would utilize. Learn more about this kick off to the Community on our Open House page.
Monthly Community workshops are an opportunity for faculty and staff engaged in active learning to meet, discuss their experiences, and learn about news in active learning. While these meetings are meant to be an informal gathering, a topic for each workshop helps focus the discussion. In this first community workshop on October 11, 2016, the group discussed various types of active learning activities - from think-pair-share to role playing - including specific exercises and things to consider when implementing them. Attendees shared activities they use in class and workshopped ideas they were considering using. The points raised in this workshop have been incorporated into the Activities page of the Teaching Tools section.
Formative assessment refers to a wide variety of methods that teachers use to conduct in-process evaluations of student comprehension, learning needs, and academic progress during a lesson, unit, or course. Teachers engaged in formative assessment process learn about effective teaching by studying the effectiveness of their own instructional decisions. This practice promotes professional learning that is relevant, authentic, and transformational. This February 2019 workshop presented the basic components of formative assessment and described practical techniques teachers can use to build a rich repertoire of formative assessment strategies for their classroom.
Monthly Active Learning Community workshops are an opportunity for faculty and staff interested in active learning to meet, share their experiences, and learn about the latest in active learning at Rutgers and beyond. While primarily an informal discussion, each gathering has a focal topic to guide the conversation. In this final workshop of the fall semester, the group discussed common challenges that arise when using active learning. While active learning can be very rewarding, it is not without its hurdles. Whether it is the reluctance of students to alter the way they learn, resistance to working with other students, or the difficulty of teaching without a clear front to the room - teaching with active learning methods requires that you overcome many unfamiliar obstacles. We used this workshop to discuss typical challenges experienced at Rutgers and potential solutions. The issues we discussed are summarized on the Common Challenges page.
In this workshop, participants discussed their experiences with active learning teaching in traditional classroom spaces (e.g., chair desks, fixed seating, large, tiered lecture halls). Participants were asked to share their strategies for teaching in these spaces, bring their questions, challenges, or concerns to teaching in these spaces, and provide suggestions to the questions and concerns of other participants. Notes from the discussion may be reviewed online.
Monthly Active Learning Community workshops are an opportunity for faculty and staff engaged in active learning to meet, discuss their experiences, and learn about news in active learning. While these meetings are meant to be an informal gathering, a topic for each workshop will help focus the discussion. In this second community workshop, we looked at how to form groups when using active learning methods. How students are organized into groups can have an enormous impact on the way students work collaboratively. A balanced group is more likely to be productive and inclusive. We will discuss the merits of different approaches to forming groups and encourage attendees to share their own experiences creating groups in class. Learn more about several of the ideas discussed on the Forming Groups page.
In this November 9, 2017, a group of faculty and staff discussed "It's Good Till It's Not Good," a short article by Margaret Finnegan that detailed her efforts, as an instructor, to utilize active learning while accounting for the differences in students that can make some participants ill disposed towards group work. Our conversations grappled with importance of considering how each student's abilities and background effect their readiness for active learning.
Monthly Active Learning Community workshops are an opportunity for faculty and staff engaged in active learning to meet, discuss their experiences, and learn about news in active learning. While these meetings are meant to be an informal gathering, a topic for each workshop will help focus the discussion. In this workshop, we looked at what instructors can do interject interactive activities in to lecture-based classes or in large classrooms that are less conducive to active learning. Learn more about several of the ideas discussed on the Interactive Lecture Strategies page.
Monthly Active Learning Community workshops are an opportunity for faculty and staff engaged in active learning to meet, discuss their experiences, and learn about news in active learning. While these meetings are meant to be an informal gathering, a topic for each workshop will help focus the discussion. In this workshop, we looked at what instructors can do to. Visit the Preparing Students for Group Work page for more information.
Monthly Active Learning Community workshops are opportunities for faculty and staff engaged in active learning to meet, discuss their experiences, and learn about news in active learning. While these meetings are meant to be an informal gathering, a topic for each workshop will help focus the discussion. In the final Active Learning Community workshop of Spring 2018, we used Kimberly Tanner’s article "Structure Matters: Twenty-one Teaching Strategies to Promote Student Engagement and Cultivate Classroom Equity” as a jumping off point for discussion. Tanner, who was the keynote speaker at the 2018 Active Learning Symposium, discusses teaching techniques that focus on reaching all students and considers how to incorporate the student perspective in course design and activities. In our workshop, we engaged with these approaches, shared related instances from the Rutgers classroom, and touched upon about other ways to incorporate engagement and equity in the classroom.
Universal Design for Learning is a framework designed to created flexible learning environments that support and accommodate diverse learners. It focuses on identifying core learning goals, and providing multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement in an effort to break down barriers to those goals. UDL strategies help to provide pathways to learning that are essential for students with disabilities, and beneficial for all. In this session, led by Dena Novak of Teaching & Learning with Technology, attendees learned about what UDL is all about and practical tips for how they can be implemented it the classroom. Review the presentation slides for more information.
On September 13, 2016, Rutgers faculty, staff, and students were invited to take a tour of Rutgers-New Brunswick's first general-purpose Active Learning Classroom. Take a virtual tour of the room on the Tillett 204 classroom page.