Active learning workshop held for professors

Hannah Fermanich

NMU will host a workshop showing faculty how to use the new active learning technology that will be coming to campus.

According to the press release, the workshops will be held on Monday, Jan. 30 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in LRC room 108 and also on Tuesday, Jan. 31 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in LRC room 109.

They will feature a new “crisis” exercise for faculty, allowing them to use the new technology to solve a set of problems instead of simply watching a demonstration from the presenter.

“Attendees each will be part of a team,” said Darlene Walch, Dean of Academic Information Services, “The activity is a simulation of an event that occurred on the island of Montserrat where people had to be evacuated during a dual disaster of a hurricane and a volcanic eruption.”

Each team will conduct research about the natural disasters and the resources available on the island. As the exercise continues, the teams will receive news and data updates from a central command center. Then the teams must use the data to make predictions and then make decisions about how best to evacuate the people of the island, Walch said.

The exercise will show faculty how best to make use of the technology that is going to be available to them and students with the coming reconstruction of the Jamrich building.

“We are focusing on faculty as a way of sharing possibilities for how classrooms might be configured during the Jamrich project,” Walch said.

The workshops are being held in preparation for the coming Jamrich renovation. With the new building, more active learning classrooms similar to the one already being utilized in the LRC will be available for use.

While the exact starting date for construction is not yet determined, workshops like these will help prepare faculty for the new technology that will be a part of several new classrooms.

“Any area of study could benefit because of teaching strategies and technology involved,” Walch said. “However, classes that are less active and more reliant on lecture format will probably benefit the most.”

The current active learning classroom on campus utilizes smart boards, microphones, cameras, and active sharing technology between computers thanks in part to NMU’s laptop initiative. Students and faculty alike will be able to work collaboratively on different problems and projects.

Although there is still time for those faculty who are interested in participating to sign up for these workshops, space is limited in each session.

Other workshops are offered regularly on course design, technology, and classroom enhancements. For now, there are no current plans for other sessions like this exercise, Walch said.