On day one of TLISI 2016, Georgetown faculty from a diverse array of departments came together for Sherry Linkon’s first session on research-based teaching: “What Do We Want to Know About Student Learning?” Linkon, Faculty Director of Writing Curriculum Initiatives and a member of the Department of English, described Scholarship in Teaching and Learning (SoTL) as trying to understand what “learning” looks like. Professors are facilitators of learning, and this is how they should make decisions about how to teach—a shift from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning.
Sherry indicated that this diverse crowd of professors could all ask critical questions (What’s going on? What works? What if? How does it work?), and that these questions could be solved through research and evidence. She then posed a problem for the professors in attendance to try to solve using these questions. Professors were asked to think about difficulties with getting students to read the required material for their courses. Several professors indicated that they often encounter issues with student participation. Sherry asked everyone across disciplines to partner up and talk about their students’ critical reading. After an animated discussion among the small groups, the professors posted their questions around the walls of the classroom.
This exercise clearly gave the professors plenty to think about. Thank you to Sherry and all the faculty who attended this session! We are excited to know that Georgetown faculty care deeply about student learning and engagement.