I’ve previously mentioned my recent experimentation with ThingLink and my participation in this summer’s ThingLink Teacher Challenge. I also happen to be vacationing at the same time, so I pretty much skipped the assignment for week 2. However, I did complete the assignment for week 3 just before dinner tonight.
One of the big, though not new, ideas in Edmund J. Hansen’s Idea-Based Learning: A Course Design Process to Promote Conceptual Understanding (Sterling, VA: Stylus, 2011) concerns “‘authentic performance tasks,’ which confront students with the types of problems and issues that an academic discipline addresses and require the application of its theoretical knowledge to realistic scenarios” (p. 171). Using “authentic performance tasks” is similar to “problem-based learning” or teaching with case studies. For the field of education, Hansen provides this example: “students prepare a grant proposal to obtain trade books for elementary science curricula that will support girls’ science learning.” For environmental studies: “teams are asked to assume the role of experts in energy policy and make a recommendation for the new U.S. president’s administration to take action in its first 100 days.” (Both examples are on p. 172.)
For the last few days I’ve been reading Edmund J. Hansen’s Idea-Based Learning: A Course Design Process to Promote Conceptual Understanding (Sterling, VA: Stylus, 2011). I learned about Hansen’s book from Forrest Clingerman’s review in the July 2013 supplement to Teaching Theology and Religion.
I find many of Hansen’s claims and suggestions inspiring, but I’d like to apply them to my courses in ways that are not completely idiosyncratic. To that end, I thought I’d try to start a conversation here around a few of Hansen’s key points, relating them to a stereotypical introductory Old Testament course for undergraduates in a predominantly Christian environment (not necessarily bound to a “survey” model). I hope that plenty of Higgaion readers will weigh in, and will invite your compatriots who don’t read this blog regularly to pay a visit and join the discussion. I’m asking myself the following three questions, and I would like to hear how others would answer them.