The University of Georgia seeks to assist faculty in transforming undergraduate courses to actively engage students in their learning by using innovative, evidence-based instructional practices. The Office of Instruction assists schools and college to enhance various instructional spaces across campus to further support active engagement of students.
Research shows that active learning improves student engagement, long-term retention of course content, improved competencies, and higher course grades. For UGA, this means we are providing our students with a rich, meaningful classroom experience that provides a long-term impact. Our faculty are engaging students in active forms of learning more than ever before. An Active Learning Snapshot conducted in March 2018 showed that a strong contingent of faculty utlitize active learning in their classrooms. Of the over four hundred faculty responding to the survey—representing 13,508 students and 332 classes taught in Spring 2018—forty-five percent indicate they spent little to no lecture time during their class, instead spending that “active learning time” engaged in activities like think-pair-share, peer work review, presentations, or reflective writing.
Active Learning Summer Institute
To promote a wider adoption of active learning pedagogies, President Jere Morehead designated $250,000 for an intensive 2018 summer institute to help faculty incorporate active learning strategies into their undergraduate courses. The six-week Active Learning Summer Institute was hosted by the Center for Teaching and Learning, with 16 faculty in each cohort and helped faculty redesign their courses and implement evidence-based instructional strategies that engage students in the learning process.
The institutes included daily sessions of structured work time on course design, group feedback sessions on course materials, and discussion of active learning pedagogy and other evidence-based teaching practices. Faculty worked independently and with consultant partners to finalize their courses for implementation during the 2018-19 academic year. By the end of the institute, participating faculty were able to design interactive instructional, assessment, and learning technology strategies that foster ongoing student engagement, motivation, and reflection.
The CTL is in the process of creating a teaching laboratory for instructors to examine and test different technologies or classroom setups that promote active learning.
Active Learning Spaces
To help ensure that physical spaces on campus enable active learning, President Morehead created a $1 million fund to transform select traditional classrooms with fixed chairs and tables into active learning spaces. These spaces have been allocated and are currently in the process of being developed.
Requirements for funding active learning spaces: