This evidence-based practice paper describes a semester-long intervention designed to help faculty realize a mindset of “additive innovation” to promote the sharing, scaling, sustainability, and implementation of pedagogical risk-taking within an engineering curriculum. This intervention has been developed as part of a research project that is funded by the National Science Foundation “Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments” (RED) program. Based on previous research on additive innovation in the Maker community, the research team identified four stages of an additive innovation cycle around which to organize faculty professional development activities: (1) becoming inspired by their community, (2) sharing and learning about pedagogical ideas and artifacts, (3) iterating on their own pedagogical ideas and artifacts, and (4) sharing the results of their pedagogical innovations back into the community. The intervention is underway during the Fall 2018 semester, with a cohort of thirteen instructors from within a multi-disciplinary engineering school.
We share the structure and logistics of faculty development activities under the auspices of our “pedagogical ninjas” program. Participating instructors first shared a teaching innovation from a course through brief lightning round presentations to the rest of the cohort. Next, they attended a series of Friday afternoon teaching and pedagogy workshops around topics such as technology use in the classroom, active learning pedagogies, and student motivation. These workshops were followed by a two-day teaching hackathon in which instructors engaged deeply in the redesign of a specific module or topic from one of their courses, and in many cases, in partnership with their colleagues and students. Currently, community-building events and informal check-ins are allowing the research team to provide input and feedback as the participants work to pilot their teaching innovations. The intervention will culminate in an all-day storytelling event at the end of the semester focused to help participants craft a story of their experience to construct and deliver, in their own words, their own journeys through the additive innovation cycle and their experiences trying out a pedagogical risk in their classroom.
A multiple case study approach is being employed to study the effectiveness and impact of the program, and how participation in each stage of the additive innovation cycle impacts faculty pedagogical practices and intentions related to pedagogical risk-taking. The unit of analysis is an individual faculty member. Data is being collected on each faculty participant, in the form of the artifacts they create, surveys, and reflective interviews. The full paper will present details about each stage of the additive innovation cycle, including its corresponding activities and materials. Preliminary results from our data collection and analysis will also be shared. Findings from this work are expected to help determine how administrative structures can support faculty as change agents. This research will also contribute to an understanding of how embracing a mindset of additive innovation and pedagogical risk-taking as a faculty member can lead to desired professional competencies among engineering students.
The authors would prefer presenting this work in a traditional lecture format.
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