CETL Weekly Update – Collaborative Learning

September 11, 2017

Alone we are smart. Together we are brilliant.  ~ Steven Anderson, Educator

Collaborative learning can be a critical aspect to higher education, both for students and staff. As we learn together, we experience changes in perspective and understanding that learning alone cannot bring us.

Collaborative learning is much more than group work.  It requires interdependence and mutual accountability between group members as they seek to solve problems, engage in challenging tasks and meet group goals (Scager, Boonstra, Petters, Vulperhorst & Wiegan, 2016; available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5132366/).   Meaningful interactions with peers are known to increase critical thinking and cognitive restructuring.

Technology can help build collaborations, between educators and students and within peer networks.  Shared lockers and discussion boards can promote ease of communication in groups and grades (including assignments with feedback) can help students assess their own progress and determine needed steps and support.

  • This Tuesday, September 11, Stacy Leno, Learn@UW-Superior process consultant and Tom Tu, instructional designer will facilitate a session on Learn@UW-Superior (also known as D2L) from noon  – 12:50 p.m. in Swenson 2020. This Best Practices session will be an overview of the Content, Dropbox, and Grades tools. They will show how to find the tools, some best practices for getting started, and discuss why using these tools are beneficial for both instructors and students. Due to the limited time, this session will be more informational than hands-on.  If you would like to attend a more hands-on training, watch for our 4 hour sessions in August and January.

Our communities of practice and peer network bring opportunities to create new relationships with colleagues in the goal of learning together and facing challenging experiences and/or situations. While these groups don’t include the more formal structure of collaborative groups in the classroom, they do encourage promotive interaction (i.e. encouragement of one another and support to achieve goals).

  • Our first community of practice meets this week with the Global Awareness and Inclusivity group, facilitated by Jerel Benton, Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Lynn Amerman Goerdt, social work faculty and Global Awareness Coordinator.  The group will meet Wednesday, September 13 (2nd Wednesday of the month) from noon – 12:50 p.m. in the CETL conference room (Swenson 2074); light refreshments will be provided. The goal of this first session is to welcome one another and develop the agenda for fall.
  • Our next community of practice, Well-being: Research and Practice, meets on Wednesday, September 27 (4th Wednesday of the month) from noon – 12:50 p.m. in the CETL conference room (Swenson 2074); light refreshments will be provided. Facilitated by Randy Barker, counselor at the Student Health and Counseling Center and Mimi Rappley-Larson, social work faculty,  the first meeting’s topic is Mind full or Mindful. Mindfulness is maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Come learn how to experience a variety of mindfulness research-backed impacts, including reduction in stress, improvements in job satisfaction, emotional regulation, and focus.
  • In collaboration with Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity High Impact Practice, we’re launching the URSCA Peer Network.  Facilitated by Cheong-Soon Gan, history faculty and Julie O’Leary, URSCA coordinator, this network will focus on building our campus capacity for URSCA as group members support one another in their endeavors and skill development. The first meeting is on Thursday, September 28 from noon – 12:50 p.m. in in the CETL conference room (Swenson 2074); light refreshments will be provided.

If you have any questions about the above communities of practice, please feel free to contact one of the facilitators.  CETL emails throughout the semester will share information about the group and their work.

About UW-Superior CETL

I'm part of the UW-Superior CETL Team and the site administrator for our CETL Blog. Contact me if you have any questions or concerns related to this blog. Thanks!
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