Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis
How would you assess the transferability of the re-design approach you employed to new subject areas or disciplines?
We think that the basic idea of our redesign – linking Introduction to Sociology and Elementary Composition – is quite transferable to other disciplines with one important caveat: any discipline (read, department) who wishes to adopt such an approach must be willing to support faculty, who will at first need to spend more, rather than less, time in teaching their introductory courses.
The products, course objects, and even the approaches to pedagogical problems seem to me to be sui generis; we are therefore not sure how well they would "travel". A number of liberal arts courses would profit from a linkage to our basic writing courses. These include anthropology, history, political science, and economics; faculty (and in some cases, the chairs of these departments have approached us to find out how things are going. Political science links some sections to Elementary Composition, but I'm not sure if this is a "transfer" or an independent development.
How are you disseminating the re-design among your colleagues?
We are disseminating information about the character and near-term results of the redesign by word-of-mouth, by giving presentations and by participating in forums, colloquia, etc. organized around teaching issues. Most of these events are organized and sponsored by the Center For Teaching and Learning, whose staff have been extremely forthcoming and helpful to us throughout the life of the grant. Colleagues appear to be quite interested in what we are doing.
Faculty from other departments, as well as the chair of the Department of Sociology at Indiana University-Bloomington (our "big sibling" to the south), have expressed interest in the project. They appear to be most interested in the link we have created between Introduction to Sociology and Elementary Composition; interest in expanded technology use seems secondary. They seem more persuaded by what they take to be the inherent value and utility of linking introductory "subject" courses to introductory writing courses than by any other type of evidence. The main concern is "doability": would establishing a link between their introductory course and Elementary Composition be worth a significant investment in faculty time.
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