We recently led a three-day workshop on active teaching and learning in international studies, sponsored by the Centro de Estudios Políticos e Internacionales, at the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia. The workshop was based on a best practices framework that we devised for teaching with purpose, called EEPA:
- identifying clear Educational objectives;
- exploration of a wide range of possible Exercises, with the goal of choosing ones that best meet the instructor’s objectives;
- developing clear and explicit Procedures for implementation to help guide the students and the instructor;
- incorporating critical Assessment, debriefing, or other forms of structured reflection to achieve learning outcomes more effectively.
Workshop sessions included simulations, case teaching, structured debates, teaching with visual media (such as film) and alternative texts, and included discussions about the effective use of technology and experiential learning opportunities. Participants had the opportunity to engage in and experience different applications, and we focused on detailing effective methods for debriefing and assessment. The workshop ended with sessions focused on syllabus development and on publishing materials and exercises in the scholarship on active teaching and learning.
We found like-minded and conscientious teacher scholars in Bogotá who were already using some of these approaches and eager to think more systematically about how to make their classrooms even more student-centered. For example, faculty from the business school engaged us in conversations about how to adapt and use Apple’s “Challenge-Based Learning” curriculum at the college level by incorporating problem-, service-, and community-based learning. Faculty members teaching about entrepreneurship shared ideas about exercises that helped students learn to better interact with and serve community-based clients, and discussed how to assess them. We worked with an economics professor to develop procedures and assessment for data literacy and visualization exercises, and with political science professors on simulation design. And we enjoyed wide-ranging discussions about the utility of Colombian-authored, Colombian-focused case studies, exercises, and texts.
Evaluations of the workshop were overwhelmingly positive. Participants reported that they were thinking about how to implement or modify pedagogical strategies in line with the ideas discussed during in the workshop. All seemed grateful for the opportunity to begin to develop a local community of teacher-scholars in Bogotá. Expect to see professors from universities in Colombia begin to connect to professional opportunities for, and publish about, active teaching and learning in the very near future!