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The practice of using active learning as a teaching paradigm has been a mainstay of the K-12 community for a long time. Its success at keeping students engaged and learning has been well documented. In 1994, Iowa State University started a program called Project LEA/RN (Learning Enhancement Action/Resource Network) whose goal is to provide training, resources, and encouragement to faculty members who want to improve student learning by employing active learning techniques in their classrooms. Interested faculty commit to bi-monthly LEA/RN groups (workshops) where they learn and practice effective teaching strategies. Each workshop session gives a faculty member a new or refined strategy to try out in their next class. This paper describes the journey started by professors Davis and Jacobson, both faculty in Computer Engineering at Iowa State, to improve their classes from a traditional lecture format to a student-centered interactive learning experience. The paper addresses how the two made the transition from workshop participants to actually facilitating their own workshops. Issues discussed in the paper include: the importance of facilitator training, how to model active learning in the workshops and in class, methods for keeping faculty interest in the workshops, and methods to show other faculty members the benefits of learner-centered pedagogy.
Frontiers in Education Conference, 1998. FIE '98. 28th Annual (Volume:2 )
Date of Conference: 4-7 Nov. 1998