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Engaging Students in Disciplinary Ways of Knowing and Practicing

Rachel Washburn, Sociology, Faculty Associate Spring 2014

As instructors, we often develop courses that emphasize specific subject area knowledge without making explicit the core assumptions that shape the production of such knowledge. Research has shown that deeper learning occurs when students understand the connections between the key concepts and methods of inquiry that characterize particular disciplines. This semester’s program explores strategies for making these connections more central in our coursework. Through workshops and formal presentations, faculty members will: a) examine discipline-specific approaches to producing knowledge, and b) identify the challenges they face in encouraging students to become independent thinkers capable of understanding and creating knowledge in their disciplines and beyond.

Crafting assignments that explicitly communicate expectations and provide the guidance necessary to facilitate independent thinking are essential to introducing students to ways of thinking and practicing in different disciplines. By identifying and describing all of the steps involved in preparing for and completing assignments, we assist students in producing thoughtful, high-quality work. We will explore and discuss best practices and examples from across disciplines.


Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate: Crafting Assignments that Work

2/19: Decoding the Disciplines

2/19: Decoding Writing

3/19: Helping Students Learn Discipline-Specific Ways of Thinking and Practicing: Examples from Across the Disciplines