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Friday, June 20 • 9:30am - 10:00am
CON10.01 – Redesigning for Student Success: Curriculum, Classroom Communities, and Cultivating Transformative Learning (Room A236)

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In this paper presentation, I will discuss the first stage of a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) project that is based on my experiences of designing and teaching a university student success course (SSC) for students who are on academic probation. The purpose of this paper is to build a case for the benefits of higher education (HE) instructors working with students to develop classroom communities of practice as a context for cultivating potentially transformative learning experiences. According to Wenger (2006), a community of practice exists when a group of people “engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavour... [and they] share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (para. 4). In this paper, I give a brief history of the original SSC, discuss the rationale of my redesign, elaborate on the theoretical framework for the new course curriculum, outline some of the key processes behind planning the course (including engaging key stakeholders), provide an overview of the course guide, and briefly touch on the next phase of my SoTL project. 

The original course that prompted my research and curriculum design work was developed by the Office of Student Experience of a small university within which I worked. The objective for this course was to support students in developing the personal and academic skills that they need in order to increase their GPA and maximize their experiences at university. In 2011, I redesigned the curriculum of this course. I aimed to change its modular design, based predominantly on a cognitive understanding of learning, to a more emergent design that supports learning in a community of practice.  I started with the assumption that through fostering a sense of community in the classroom, it could be possible to increase the shared value and relevance of academic content and cultivate a feeling of belonging among learners. In short, I saw the importance of providing a curricular framework to support open and safe contexts where students feel trust, respect, and openness to explore ideas together (Cranton, 2002).


Friday June 20, 2014 9:30am - 10:00am EDT
A236 McArthur Hall

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