Developing Faculty Communities of Practice to Expand the Use of Effective Pedagogical Techniques

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Mark Hoyert
Cynthia O'Dell


The scholarship of teaching and learning literature is replete with examples of pedagogical techniques that have been demonstrated to be effective in improving learning, motivation, and student success. The extension of these techniques beyond the original context has tended to be slow, difficult, and incomplete. The following paper examines an intervention designed to encourage the exploration and use of a variety of pedagogical techniques by faculty in a traditional, four-year college faculty within the context of the AASCU Re-imagining the First Year Initiative. Small groups of six to eight faculty, joined and created communities of practice. The groups were known as Pedagogical Interest Groups, or PIGs for short. The faculty read about and analyzed a series of pedagogical techniques and committed to introducing at least one technique into their courses to further explore the techniques. When the techniques were successful, the faculty members redesigned entire classes to expand the impact. The communities of practice were successful in encouraging faculty to explore a wide variety of techniques. The average faculty group explored eight different pedagogical techniques. Faculty were able to use the opportunity to experiment with techniques with the support from their colleagues in their PIG. A dozen techniques were explored across the PIGs and dozens of class sections have been completely redesigned. To date, over 2000 students have experienced redesigned courses. Measures of student success, satisfaction, and interest in those sections have increased. The effort has been accompanied by a robust increase in the campus-wide retention rates. 


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Hoyert, M., & O’Dell, C. (2019). Developing Faculty Communities of Practice to Expand the Use of Effective Pedagogical Techniques. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 19(1).