Empathetic Instruction

Megan Heidenreich

Summer 2019

I was pondering the prompts from “What Is Open Pedagogy” (Intro to the Open Pedagogy Notebook) by Robin DeRosa and Rajiv Jhangiani  of what challenges do your students face in the learning environments, along with the assignment of how to create a learning environment that allows students to practice the Habits of Mind.

  1. The First-Year Seminar Students experience their first time at college for most of them. For all First-Year Students, they just moved into a new community, and that is stressful even when it is good. Many have a new home, a new sleeping environment, new cafeteria to get used to. So many new things that can make one feel untethered and off-balance.
  2. Neurodiversity, accessibility.
  3. Technology needs, uses, and new systems such as Moodle to learn.
  4. new terms- especially the Habits of Mind

The second Prompt: How does my Pedagogy Address these challenges?

  1. The teamwork and collaboration in class will help foster community between students. I also have community-building activities planned to help this.

I require students to attend one club or connect in some way to a student organization. I am doing this to help them think about how their project could connect to the broader campus community. I hope this will encourage more outside of class connections for them. Mostly I want them to return to class and say they connected with an organization outside of class. This can be a step outside the comfort zone for some students. I am still developing this assignment, so I appreciate any thoughts you have about it.

  1. I am providing a paper copy of the Open Education Material for the Tackling a Wicked Problem Class so if students do not have access to a computer or struggle to read on a computer; a paper copy is available. An electronic copy will also be in the Moodle account.  Videos are all closed caption, and I am looking for transcripts for all of them as well.

Working with Lindsay Page and Hannah Davidson to ensure my course is as accessible as possible to all learners.

3.We will go over Moodle and how to access everything in class.  I give students options when turning in assignments from a paper copy to Moodle, e-mail- however, they can get it to me is fine. Clear rubrics for assignments so expectations are laid out clearly for each assignment. A calendar of recommended steps for the projects, so they have a time frame to use to keep on task to help with those who need time management.

  1. I am connecting each activity in some way to a Habit of Mind (HOM). I am using the first-day activity of designing a very simple Rube Goldberg project to introduce the HOM instead of just read your Open Education Material (OEM). Once finished with the activity, we will identify behaviors and strategies used to solve the challenge. Then students will read the OEM for homework and the following class, we will assign the strategies to a HOM category.

I am repeating this idea after other class activities by giving the students time to figure out what skills they use during the activity or see in the videos and how they connect to the HOM. I am thinking of creating a google doc for a running list for the class.

Any other challenges I should be aware of? Any other ideas to address them that I am missing? Thanks so much!


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Cluster Learning at Plymouth State: A Community-Based Approach to Pedagogy Copyright © 2019 by Megan Heidenreich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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