FCI Seminar Series - Creativity and Imagination are Foundational: EECS 183 and PoliSci 101

In this session, Mary Lou Dorf (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, EECS) and Mika LaVaque-Manty (Political Science) will share their experience with large courses in two very different fields that both tap into student creativity and imagination. They found that their classrooms were fundamentally transformed when they decided that the courses were not about specific factual content, but rather about the skills students take away that are relevant to their lives and the world they inhabit. In their courses, students rose to high expectations when instructors communicated confidence that students could reach those expectations and provided the resources needed. Furthermore, with deliberate effort, Dorf and LaVaque-Manty created explicitly inclusive courses to the benefit of all students. These kinds of changes make possible large courses that inspire students to say, “This changed my life.”

In developing courses that tap into student creativity and imagination, tools for teaching at scale (multiple choice quizzes, auto-graded homework, etc.) still play an important role.  In order to make the more labor-intensive aspects of courses work at large scale, it’s essential to staff these courses with a team of instructors and to balance the automated with the artisan. The presenters will discuss how they achieved this balance.

In the second hour, participants will engage in a discussion of how to apply the principles that promote creativity, imagination, and inclusivity in their own courses. In particular, we will consider how to make content relevant to students’ lives and their world, how to plan for and assemble the resources needed, and how to set expectations that are high enough, but not so high that students get lost. We’ll also address the reasonable fear of failing to provide an adequate educational experience for students when making radical changes to your approach to a course.


Event Information
Wed, 03/21/2018 - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Location (Room): 
CRLT Seminar Room (1013 Palmer Commons)
Mary Lou Dorf, Collegiate Lecturer Emerita
Mika LaVaque-Manty, Professor, Political Science; Director, LSA Honors Program
Eligible for Certificate: 
Not eligible for Certificate
After the Event