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Wednesday, June 17 • 3:00pm - 4:00pm
CON04.04 - Blending billionaires, beavers and banditos

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In September 2014, the North American Studies program in the Faculty of Arts at Wilfrid Laurier launched a new, introductory course: Billionaires, Beavers, and Banditos. The aim was clear: provide first year students with innovative learning environments to facilitate the transition to university. We also wanted students to critically disrupt concepts including identity, citizenship, race, business, and the nation state. The course incorporated blended, active, interdisciplinary, and low risk/high reward learning. Students were required to assume greater ownership, becoming more ‘free range’ in the management of their course time and work. Still, a curricular framework was intentionally designed to foster university level skills development and learning habits, suited to competencies needed as dynamic life-long learners and ‘free range’, independent thinkers. This interactive session begins with a presentation of the course as a case study, demonstrating how a teaching environment that integrates technology facilitates blended learning to effectively transform a large lecture class to maximize engagement between instructors and students (Garrison and Kanuka, 2004). Preliminary evidence from the first offerings of the course will be reviewed. Colleagues in the sciences seem to have embraced blended learning more readily (Talbert, 2014), but similar approaches can be used in arts courses to achieve smaller class sizes and more active and engaged participation by a larger number of students. Modeling some of the active learning strategies used in the course, participants in this interactive session will work together to brainstorm and adapt a toolkit of proven teaching and learning strategies applicable to other large, introductory, university courses in the arts. 

Garrison, D. R., & Kanuka, H. (2004). Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 7(2), 95–105.

Talbert, R. (2014, December). Exploring the Flipped Learning Model. Educational Development. Lecture conducted from Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON.

Wednesday June 17, 2015 3:00pm - 4:00pm PDT
Mackenzie Room

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