Trinity College of Arts and Sciences will introduce new and redesigned classes in 2015 in which Duke professors team-teach with research partners at other universities.
Proposals for the development of collaborative courses that enable faculty to team-teach with their colleagues at other U.S. or international universities are currently under review at the Office of the Dean in Trinity. Three selected proposals are likely to be approved by the end of April, and the collaborative courses will be offered in Spring or Fall 2015.
“We are aiming to help faculty do what they love most, and that is to teach their research,” Dean of Arts and Sciences Laurie Patton wrote in an email Sunday.
The three course projects are expected to come from the three divisions—humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. The courses will include both face-to-face teaching and online learning modes such as web conferencing, online tutorials, synchronous and asynchronous discussions and other web-assisted learning tools.
The selected courses will be offered concurrently to students at Duke and the university where the partner professor teaches. The goal in creating these new courses is to use online technology to facilitate communication between universities.
“Duke is fortunate to have brilliant people in the Center for Instructional Technology with considerable technological and pedagogical expertise, who have already been helping faculty to offer courses in which students collaborate across campuses,” wrote Ingeborg Walther, associate dean of curriculum and course development for Trinity, in an email Tuesday.
She added that the advisors at CIT will be working with faculty teaching the collaborative courses to address possible challenges, which might range from scheduling to facilitiating meaningful interaction or projects across campuses.
“There are certainly difficulties associated with teleconferencing technologies, such as the speed and reliability of the connections,” Walther said. “But the good news is that they are getting better all the time.”
The office has received five course proposals so far and more faculty have expressed interest in designing cross-institutional courses in the future, Walther said.
Thomas Robisheaux, Fred W. Schaffer Professor of History, said that although he did not have time to turn in an application this year, he would love to develop a reserach seminar course with colleagues in Hungary, Germany, Norway and Iceland in the future.
“Duke faculty are often at their best when they teach their research interests,” Robisheaux said. “Add this to the chance to teach with a partner at another university and you have a recipe for a very exciting experience for students.”
Patton noted that there are no collaborative programs of the same scale at peer institutions.
“We are a leading university when it comes to undergraduate research,” she said. “Why not take it to the next level?”
Robisheaux said that the collaborative teaching initiative will not only allow faculty to teach what they love, but it will also facilitate undergraduate learning and education.
“This would be a beautiful way to expand research and learning opportunities for students,” he said.
Patton added that the program allows students involved in undergraduate research to better understand partnership and collaboration across institutions.
“We hope to deepen our culture whereby teaching research is at the center of our classroom lives as well as our scholarly lives,” Patton said.