Opening Night Speaker
Robert McMaster is professor of geography and vice-provost and dean for undergraduate education at the University of Minnesota. Bob is both an accomplished scholar in the field of cartography and a sound administrator who has led the campus effort to record highs in graduation rates and first-year retention of undergraduate students. He is a strong proponent of the value of ALCs on campus, particularly for STEM education, and his office has served as a sponsor of the Forum since its inception in 2011.
Adam Finkelstein is an educational developer in Teaching and Learning Services at McGill University in Quebec, Canada. He is deeply involved in learning space development and learning technologies at McGill and is a sought-after national and international speaker on teaching in active learning classrooms. Adam’s ongoing work involves designing innovative physical and virtual learning spaces, and he contributes regularly to academic literature through peer-reviewed publications.
D. Christopher Brooks, PhD, is the Interim Director of Research for the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research, managing their research portfolio and is a PI on numerous ECAR research projects. Prior to joining ECAR, Christopher served as a Research Associate in the Office of Information Technology at the University of Minnesota. He is a prolific researcher and coedited the 2014 New Directions for Teaching and Learning volume on Active Learning Spaces, and he also has a coauthored book, A Guide to Teaching in the Active Learning Classrooms (2016).
The Year of the ALC
Twenty-five years after the creation of the first active learning classroom (ALC), these innovative spaces are on the verge of becoming mainstream at colleges and universities around the world. At this critical juncture, we pause to consider the structural forces that produced an environment hospitable to ALCs, the evidence that has supported their global proliferation and adoption, and the future roles of ALCs in higher education.
Robin Wright is professor and head of the Department of Biology Teaching and Learning in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota. Her current research centers on scientific teaching, faculty development, and student learning in active learning classrooms (ALC). She has been a recipient of an HHMI Undergraduate Science Education Grant and is a regular presenter on active learning classrooms on the national scene. Robin is widely regarded as the authoritative voice on teaching in ALCs on the University of Minnesota campus.
Past, Present, And Future: Active Learning Classrooms as Catalysts for Evidence-Based Teaching
Almost twenty years have passed since the Boyer Report called on research universities to improve the quality of undergraduate education. Since then, the state of the classroom has profoundly improved for hundreds of thousands of undergraduates at institutions both large and small. A major part of that catalysis has been the emergence of a critical enabler of evidence-based teaching: the active learning classroom. We’ll briefly review life in the classroom before active learning classrooms and contrast it to life in today’s ALCs. We’ll then explore together what the future may hold and how we can support the evolution of active learning classrooms.