Friday, February 8, 2008

Seminar based learning

Presentation by Jane Lister Reis - North Seattle Community College

Students arrived "dullarized" - only wanting to know what hoops they have to jump through, rather than excited about learning. It takes about 6 weeks to get students through rote learning methods to being able to co-create knowledge. They decided to create a video to show faculty how to teach in learning community and to show students what co-learning looks like.

They made the video with funding from the state board and committed to sharing it with everyone in the state.

The video includes students and faculty explaining how a seminar differs from traditional learning.
Seminar is about exploring a text together - this definition is shown on the screen several times.
  • "seminaring" is distinct from traditional lecture or discussion
  • seminar is about students
  • camaraderie around the material
  • one student explained her discomfort with the process, she wasn't familiar with what it was nor did she know her colleagues. Once she got comfortable with it, she understood its value and appreciated it.
(the video stopped working about 10 minutes into its 18 minute length)

North is now in the process of creating a rubric for seminar. They are deeply exploring seminar and how it relates to individual classes, retention, disciplines, etc. There is a focus on interdisciplinary interaction.

Bill noted that he has a lot of videos/resources like this in his office and they sit on his shelf. He hopes that this group can give some feedback on how it can be really used. North is creating materials around how to do this.

One can hear "student voices" on seminaring on the North Seattle website.

Bill notes that it is important to also explore how this works outside the humanities. The language may be different, but he things similar processes are happening in the sciences. It helps to have disciplinary direction - a math person needs to see a math person seminaring.

After learning how to learn this way, students can become impatient with old ways of learning. They may push other faculty to doing more communal learning.


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