Faculty Reading Group/SIG

Faculty reading groups and special interest groups (SIGs) bring together BU educators interested in developing their teaching through cross-disciplinary conversations. Participants typically meet once a month over a semester to discuss scholarship on teaching and learning and to reflect on their classroom practice. All faculty (tenured, tenure-track, lecturer, etc.) are invited to apply.  Space is limited.  While taking into account participants’ availability, we strive to form a group that reflects the diverse disciplinary expertise and teaching experience of BU faculty.

Fall 2019 Special Interest Group: AR/VR/xR

A collaboration between DL&I’s units, this group will support up to 15 faculty members to explore and discuss virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (xR) teaching opportunities for classroom instruction. The goal of this program is to provide a voice for advancing conversations about student learning through current platforms. Examples might include teaching history with Google Cardboard’s low-cost VR headset, contrasting current geographic features with a superimposed AR geographic layer from the late Jurassic era, or practicing medical surgery in 3D by using a fully calibrated xR headset and handset. By engaging in these topics and activities, faculty can build and share resources pertaining to teaching with VR/AR/xR.


Application Process


Questions? Email or call Brad Wheeler, Learning Experience Designer (bdw@bu.edu or 617-358-8139)


Past Reading Groups

In spring 2019, FRG participants read Minds on Fire: How Role-Immersion Games Transform College (2018), by Mark C. Carnes.

Reviews of Minds on Fire:

[Carnes] marshals evidence for the effectiveness of Reacting to the Past from numerous sources—first from his own nearly 20 years of teaching Reacting games in his courses, and then from many of the faculty members who teach the games on more than 300 college campuses… [Minds on Fire is] Carnes’s beautifully written apologia for this fascinating and powerful approach to teaching and learning in higher education. If we are willing to open our minds and explore student-centered approaches like Reacting, we might just find that the spark of student engagement we have been searching for in higher education’s mythical past can catch fire in the classrooms of the present.—James M. Lang, The Chronicle of Higher Education

In Minds on Fire, Carnes offers qualitative and quantitative evidence to show that an immersive gamified approach to the curriculum not only significantly increases student engagement and motivation, but produces greater familiarity with landmark historical events and ideas, greater empathy for historical actors, and greater engagement with the skills that college mission statements advocate: critical thinking, close reading, moral reasoning, leadership skills, and analytic and argumentative speaking and writing.—Steven Mintz, History News Network

In spring 2018, FRG participants read Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel.

Reviews of Make It Stick:

“This is quite a remarkable book. It describes important research findings with startling implications for how we can improve our own learning, teaching, and coaching. Even more, it shows us how more positive attitudes toward our own abilities—and the willingness to tackle the hard stuff—enables us to achieve our goals. The compelling stories bring the ideas out of the lab and into the real world.” – Robert Bjork, Professor of Cognitive Psychology, UCLA

“The single best work I have encountered on recent findings about the human brain and how we learn.” – James Lang, Professor of English and Director for the Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption College

“Learning is essential and life-long. Yet as these authors argue convincingly, people often use exactly the wrong strategies and don’t appreciate the ones that work. We’ve learned a lot in the last decade about applying cognitive science to real-world learning, and this book combines everyday examples with clear explanations of the research. It’s easy to read—and should be easy to learn from, too!”— Daniel L. Schacter, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University

Questions? Contact Jean Otsuki at jotsuki@bu.edu or 617-358-3022.