January 11, 2011
Commitment to enhancing the student experience
By Sandy Bell
In December 2009, the innovative Project Engage was launched to study the enhancement of student engagement in first-year arts and sciences courses.
“We’re a research-intensive university, and Project Engage is one way for us to have a research focus on our teaching and how our teaching impacts upon the student experience,” says Dr. Leslie Reid, team lead for the project.
Until May 2012, two cohorts of faculty members, a total of 10 participants, are being supported in the evaluation and redesign of their courses, and then in the implementation and evaluation of their changed courses. Overall, there are about 2,055 students enrolled in the participating courses; the enrolment per course ranges from 30 to 400.
During the current winter term, the first cohort of faculty participants in Project Engage will implement their redesigned courses, which were informed by research findings on how people learn, observations of their classrooms and surveys of their students during the fall 2010 term. The second cohort will undergo observations of their classrooms during this term and implement their redesigned courses in fall 2011. Like the first cohort, they will have their courses evaluated before and after course redesign.
After witnessing the efforts of the faculty participants to date, Leslie more fully appreciates the intensity of work needed to provide faculty with the support they need to enhance their teaching practice. “My own experiences aside, now I see that professional development is really time consuming. It’s longitudinal work that requires commitment.”
“I’ve come to truly appreciate the commitment of those involved in Project Engage to dig deep into their teaching practices and challenge themselves and their teaching philosophies,” adds Leslie
To learn more about Project Engage, please visit http://www.ucalgary.ca/provost/activities/project-engage