October 22, 2017

Take the pledge for #ActiveLearningWeek2017 (October 23-27)

Posted by Laura Guertin

Active Learning Week is an opportunity for faculty and administrators to join in a collective effort to raise STEM faculty awareness of active learning strategies, expand institutional capacity for STEM diversity and inclusion, and improve the undergraduate experience of all students in STEM.  —  STEM Central


AAC&U’s Project Kaleidoscope is encouraging all STEM faculty to take the pledge for Active Learning Week 2017. Last year, I blogged about the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)’s call to action for a nationwide Active Learning Day in 2016 to improve STEM education. According to the STEM Central website, last year’s call resulted in over 400 STEM faculty from 190 colleges, universities, and STEM-related professional societies participated in Active Learning Day—reaching more than 100,000 students and supporting STEM faculty in adopting active learning strategies. This year, faculty have a full week to find the space/time to participate.

AAC&U/PKAL has an online pledge form (click here) you are encouraged to fill out by Friday, October 27, to share your commitment to this initiative.



The Pledge

By signing up with Project Kaleidoscope, you are being asked to commit to any or all of the following activities the week of October 23rd:

  • — Spend at least 10 minutes implementing a culturally responsive STEM teaching strategy that promotes active learning in your classroom; (see the next section for a definition of this)
  • — Identify innovative ways to deepen and extend your departmental/institutional commitment to inclusive STEM higher education reform throughout the week, academic year, and beyond;
  • — Tell a friend! Reach out to at least one colleague (in either a STEM or non-STEM discipline), and engage in dialogue around what they can do to implement similar strategies in their classroom;
  • — Tweet or post on social media about your participation using #ActiveLearningWeek2017; and
  • — Share with others what you did on Active Learning Week by creating and uploading a two-minute video! Upload the video to YouTube and send the link to [email protected]. Your efforts will be showcased on STEM Central.


What is Culturally Responsive Undergraduate STEM Teaching?

From AAC&U  —  Culturally responsive undergraduate STEM teaching recognizes the importance of including all students’ cultural perspectives and experiences – whether it is race, gender, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, geographic location, institution type, ability status, religion, and/or language – in every aspect of learning and mastering core STEM content (Ladson-Billings,1994; Mack and Winter, 2015). This practice, when coupled with opportunities for students to engage in authentic scientific problem solving, work in diverse small groups, or contribute to cutting edge scientific discovery ensures that our nation diversifies its STEM enterprise and, thereby, preserves its global preeminence in science and technology.

Sources that address culturally responsive teaching in more detail can be found online via ACSD, ASU, University of Florida, Brown University, and through additional websites.



Remember that in the geosciences, we have excellent resources available through SERC that define and provide examples of active learning. You may want to start with the SERC Site Guide for Strengthening Your Teaching, and then explore other sections of their website, such as materials on the Starting Point page for Active Learning, and materials from a previous Active Learning Workshop and workshop on Introducing Active Learning Strategies to Large Intro Courses.