Dr. Raul Fernandez, a lecturer in Boston University School of Education’s Higher Education Administration program, is joining a cohort of ten BU faculty members who will participate in the Center for Teaching & Learning’s Collaborative Learning Faculty Learning Community (FLC) in Spring 2018. This FLC is specifically designed to support faculty participants by “improving their teaching practice by engaging with research-based scholarship, brainstorming ideas with faculty from different disciplines, and ultimately develop pedagogies and assignments to implement in their future teaching.”
Starting in January and continuing throughout the Spring semester, Dr. Fernandez will join other Collaborative Learning FLC members as they design and workshop new course activities and assignments that may bring collaborative learning to existing Boston University courses. Collaborative learning is form of active learning that emphasizes student participation in the knowledge construction process. The Center for Teaching & Learning notes that active learning tasks aim “to tease out learners’ current understanding, make that understanding explicit, and then create opportunities for learners to integrate new knowledge into their understanding.”
Dr. Fernandez specifically intends to develop and workshop ideas that will bring collaborative learning techniques to a popular class he teaches at the School of Education, AP600: Diversity & Justice in Education. Students who take AP600 develop their knowledge of issues related to equity and inclusion in educational settings, and as guided by Dr. Fernandez, begin to understand how to use the existing systems within educational institutions as a means for enacting change.
One possible collaborative learning project Dr. Fernandez is considering would task small teams of AP600 students with gathering extensive information on a specific area of educational injustice, and then developing an accessible and communicable policy brief featuring information and strategies that educators across the country could apply toward correcting the specific injustice.
The Collaborative Learning FLC will connect Dr. Fernandez with BU faculty from a range of other disciplines, who will provide feedback as Dr. Fernandez develops his ideas. In return, Dr. Fernandez will contribute his specific knowledge and insight to the curricular ideas his fellow FLC members seek to develop. “I’m looking forward to learning more about how other faculty are incorporating collaborative learning into their own coursework,” noted Dr. Fernandez via email. “I’m equally excited by the opportunity to provide feedback, based on my own expertise on equity and inclusion in the classroom, to the projects my FLC colleagues bring to the table.”