Lawrence University and five other liberal arts institutions are embarking on a project to collaboratively develop and teach new hybrid courses. The project, “Hybrid Liberal Arts Network: High Touch Learning for the 21st Century,” is supported by a $335,000 grant from the New York City-based Teagle Foundation.
Working together as the Midwest Hybrid Learning Consortium — Lawrence, Albion College, DePauw University, Grinnell College, Hope College and Wabash College — the six-member alliance will combine the best of classroom teaching with digital technology to try new approaches involving online learning.
“We are very pleased to be part of this group working on hybrid courses,” said David Burrows, Lawrence provost and dean of the faculty. “One of the great challenges of the digital revolution is making use of the power of technology to enhance the goals of liberal education. We want our students to develop skills of analysis, problem solving, creativity and understanding ambiguity. These are abilities that require human interaction. If well-constructed, hybrid courses can combine the use of technology with the enrichment of human dialogue, leading to effective liberal learning.”
The project will see teams of faculty from across a wide range of disciplines from each of the institutions cooperatively developing hybridized courses over the rest of 2015, beginning with a workshop this summer. The new courses will be traditional face-to-face classroom offerings, not online courses, although they may incorporate some online components
The first new courses are scheduled to be offered in the spring semester of 2016 with additional new courses introduced in the fall of 2016 and spring of 2017.
David Berk, director of instructional technology at Lawrence said technology offers so many opportunities “to engage students in new ways.”
“This project will allow faculty to explore new instructional methods such as the flipped classroom to deliver content online and enrich the face-to-face experience with new forms of team-based learning,” said Berk, a member of the grant’s implementation leadership team.
“We already have faculty that are beginning to dabble in these areas. This grant will take those experiments to the next level by supporting a series of workshops for faculty to share course materials and activities and to develop a common set of best practices that are proven to work well within the residential liberal arts experience.”
Lawrence associate professors Adam Galamobos, economics, David Hall, chemistry, and Martyn Smith, religious studies, were involved in crafting the grant and likely will be involved in the development of the new courses.
Joining Berk on the grant’s implementation leadership team will be Barry Bandstra, director of academic computing and a professor of religion, Hope College; James Brown, professor of physics, Wabash College; David Lopatto, professor of psychology, Grinnell College; Donnie Sendelbach, director of instructional and learning services, DePauw University; and John Woell, associate provost and professor of religion, Albion College.
Founded in 1944, the Teagle Foundation works to support and strengthen liberal arts education though innovation in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.
About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.