One of our larger topic themes in this summer adventure is working through the idea of being able to describe / encourage for those coming new to open pedagogy, what might be a small (a.k.a. doable) open pedagogy practice to take on as a first effort?
We hope to see some discussions launched here soon but since this event is happening next week, I wanted to share a free online event from BCcampus, Q & A with Flower Darby, author of Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes:
The BCcampus Book Club has been unpacking this practical and timely book over the past few weeks. The book club members now invite the whole sector to join them for a Q & A session with the author, Flower Darby.
Flower Darby (she/her) celebrates and promotes effective teaching in all class formats to include, welcome, and support all students as they learn and succeed. As faculty and an instructional designer, she’s taught community college and university classes for over 25 years in a range of subjects, including English, technology, leadership, dance, and pilates. A seasoned face-to-face and online educator, Darby loves to apply learning science across the disciplines and to help others do the same. Flower speaks, writes, presents, and consults on teaching and learning theory and practice nationally and internationally. She has helped educators all over the world become more effective in their work. With James M. Lang, she authored Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes, and she’s a columnist for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Her new book on emotion science and teaching with technology is forthcoming from West Virginia University Press.
We can make one small change to our in-class activities, for example, an exercise that takes five minutes at the beginning or end of class and that requires no grading. Yet this insignificant change can have an outsized impact on student learning when we base it on evidence-based principles such as retrieval practice or interleaving, both of which help students retain new information over time.
What’s so magical about small teaching is that faculty feel empowered to actually make these improvements to the way they teach their courses. Often, we attend a conference or a workshop, learn about a pedagogical innovation that sounds amazing, but neglect to actually implement the new strategy because the prospect is too daunting. It would take too much work and time to act on the new idea. Not so with small teaching. The beauty of this approach is that we can make one small change at a time, yet experience considerable gains in student learning as a result.
Small is often beautiful. Cannot the same description above be consider for small open pedagogical practices?