Exploring Teaching and Learning Innovation at GTREET
How do students change during their time at Georgia Tech? And how can instructors incorporate practices into their courses to challenge students and support their growth? These questions and others were the topic of conversation at the biannual Georgia Tech Retreat Exploring Effective Teaching (GTREET), held on Jan. 19.
The event began with a poster exhibition highlighting projects from the Transformative Teaching and Learning (TTL) inaugural faculty cohort, who shared their work redesigning courses using evidence-backed, experiential learning practices. These projects, which reached more than 850 undergraduate students last fall, demonstrated the cross-disciplinary potential of experiential learning embedded within the curriculum.
“Students enter the class with one view of the world and its possibilities, and exit the class inspired, with their view of the world and its possibilities transformed,” said Roberta Berry, associate vice provost for Undergraduate Education, who attended the event.
Following the poster exhibition, participants engaged in a workshop introducing two transformative teaching principles: high-impact practices (HIPs) and course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs). A faculty panel discussed how to plan courses with open-ended research questions that help students connect to broader community concerns. The final workshop of the day gave faculty practical tools to innovate their classrooms.
“I was struck by the inventive ways the roles of faculty and students are being transformed toward greater partnership in the learning process,” said Linda Wills, associate professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Many faculty members tap into the creativity, personal interests, and unique experiences students bring to the classroom, and in the process, students not only actively participate in their own learning, but enrich and encourage their peers as well. I came away with a wealth of new ideas to try.”
GTREET was part of the Transformative Teaching and Learning Initiative in the Institute’s strategic plan, which calls faculty to provide all students with “transformative learning experiences” that create socially responsible, autonomous thinkers who can define and solve problems from different perspectives. The second round of the TTL Innovation Incubator grant invites faculty to apply for internal grants of up to $12,000 to support the design and facilitation of a course-based undergraduate research experience. These grants are funded by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and the Office of Undergraduate Education. Applications are due March 1.
The strong faculty engagement in GTREET underscores Georgia Tech’s commitment to championing innovative teaching and learning practices. By creating meaningful connections between students’ academic pursuits and the world around them, faculty in the Transformative Teaching and Learning initiative are working together to foster an environment where all students can participate in meaningful experiential learning.
Faculty are invited to learn more about the TTL Innovation Incubator grant, including a proposal planning workshop, by visiting the Center for Teaching and Learning online at ctl.gatech.edu.