Catalyzing active learning: Implementing active learning across an engineering and science college

Tracy A. Bibelnieks, Kristen S. Gorman, Brian D. Gute, Joshua W. Hamilton, Elizabeth M. Hill, Alison B. Hoxie, David A. Saftner, Andrea J. Schokker, Pete Willemsen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


A cohort model was implemented in a college of engineering and science at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) after initiating a strategic development plan to create cultural and pedagogical change in undergraduate classrooms to engaged and active learning environments. The initial cohort consisted of faculty from Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, Civil Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, the Dean of the College of Science and Engineering (SCSE) and a facilitator from the University of Minnesota's Center for Educational Innovation (CEI). The cohort meetings began in January with focus on theory of learning and best practice of teaching using active learning strategies. The foundational readings and facilitated discussion were developed around the book How Learning Works, by Ambrose et al. Practical integration of current research and practice of active learning into undergraduate classrooms was followed by continued work in the summer months to redesign a course for fall semester incorporating active learning strategies. During the fall implementation, the cohort continued to meet to talk about experiences in their courses and to plan workshops and dissemination of outcomes/uses of active learning to all faculty in SCSE. At the end of fall semester, the cohort model solicitation was sent to the entire faculty in SCSE, with new cohorts starting in spring semester. The second year of the model is currently in progress with 38 participants from the faculty selected to populate six small multidisciplinary cohorts. The initial faculty cohort team comprises five of the six facilitators of the new cohorts. Moreover, all seven members of the initial faculty cohort continue to meet. This community of practice is leading the development of additional workshops, implementation of an assessment/evaluation framework to document the effect of active learning as this continues and expands through SCSE, writing grant proposals to enable further dissemination of the multidisciplinary cohort model approach across a college of engineering and science, and supporting each other's individual research endeavors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 26 2016
Event123rd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2016Jun 29 2016


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