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Gateway Initiative

The Gateway Initiative is an effort aimed at enhancing learning and classroom pedagogy in "gateway" courses, i. e. courses that are required for entry into the discipline and have large enrollments by necessity, but not by design.  This Initiative is the beginning of a larger effort to invest resources and attention on learning, with a current focus on supporting faculty in course redesign by matching them with dedicated teams that have expertise in project management, instructional design, analytics (to aid with assessment of the effectiveness of the redesign), library resources, and intellectual property issues. Faculty participating in this program, which seeks to redesign 12 larger-enrollment courses, are selected by a Request for Proposal application process.

The goal of the Gateway Initiative is to enhance individualized learning and improved educational outcomes for students in A&S gateway courses by enabling faculty to redesign courses to resemble smaller, upper-division classes where students and faculty actively work together. Course redesign efforts to date have included the development of flipped teaching models, where faculty pre-record lecture material - freeing up more classroom time for collaboration, discussion, and experiential learning.

Resources and references are available here.

For more information, please email Josh Kim (

Round 1 Gateway Courses 

Math 3: Calculus, Scott Pauls (Fall 2014)

“Our redesign goal for Math 3 was to create a course structure that allows for instruction and interaction tailored to student learning needs, thus better accommodating a population with heterogeneous mathematical preparation. We redesigned the course using a flipped instructional methodology - combining a traditional text with Khan Academy video instruction, we enabled (and required) students to work through materials and make initial attempts at problems sets prior to coming to class. This freed up class time for coaching and mentoring on the areas where students needed the most attention, which instructors determined from feedback and data from the Khan Academy platform. An analysis of data we collected in the first instance of the new class gives a much clearer understanding of our student learning process than was previously possible using traditional teaching methods, and has provided us with a roadmap for further improvements in the course.”

Biology 13: Gene Expression and Inheritance, Tom Jack, Patrick Dolph, and Erik Griffin (Winter 2015)

“The primary redesign goal for Biology 13, Gene Expression and Inheritance, has been to create and refine a student-centered active learning environment built around small group problem solving during class. In order to allow students more opportunities to apply the material they are learning at a deeper level, we developed new learning materials that students can access before and after class and created new in-class activities as well as refine prior activities from previous terms. New teaching strategies, technologies, and methods of collaboration with non-faculty educators in our teaching team were all utilized to meet our teaching and learning goals. The Biology 13 team consisted of 3 faculty, an instructional designer, a subject librarian, a gap-year ‘14 Dartmouth Teaching Fellow, and various consultations with other educators across the college.”

Classics 1: Antiquity Today - An Introduction to Classical Studies, Paul Christesen (Winter 2015)

"Participation in the Gateway program enabled me to accomplish some of my teaching goals in CLST 1 that were previously out of reach. First, the Gateway Program provided a mechanism for dedicated access to instructional design assistance and collaboration.  I worked very closely, and over extended time periods, with the instructional design team to find new opportunities to create active and experiential learning opportunities in the course. The second big advantage of the Gateway Program was that it paid for a team of undergraduate Teaching Assistants. This team of highly motivated undergraduates (who had previously taken and excelled in the course) were instrumental in working with me to develop a tight-knit learning community within our entire class. The Gateway Program also provided a flexible budget that I could draw on for logistical, technical and operational needs that arose as I was teaching the course, a resource that allowed us to experiment with new techniques and methods in the course design and teaching."

Russian 13: Slavic Folklore, Misha Gronas (Spring 2015)

Through the Gateway Initiative, this course underwent a year-long redesign effort that involved 3 of the 5 faculty in the department that teach this course. This redesign effort included the close collaboration with an Instructional Designer to develop learning outcomes and assessments, the hiring of 2 additional student TA's to lead interactive discussions, and the development of 2 tutorials on technical and social aspects of conducting interviews and working with human subjects, to prepare students for final folklore collection projects. The class was also able to engage in experimentation with realtimeboard, an interactive online whiteboard used to create virtual Russian villages that student groups then populated with spirits and vampires. Gateway funding also enabled a visiting scholar, Psoy Korolenko to give an interactive lecture/performance on Russian folk songs.

Round 2 Gateway Courses

Comparative Literature 1: Read the World, Rebecca Biron (Fall 2015)

Anthropology 3: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Sienna Craig and Laura Ogden (Summer 2015 and Spring 2016)

Participation in the Gateway Program allowed us to transform this core course from a lecture-based class to active learning experience, while retaining the course's larger class size (50-65 students). Several goals led the effort, including developing a significant ethnographic research project to serve as the course's central focus and using the course to connect Dartmouth students with ongoing discussions of change on campus. The course's research project has helped to make anthropology more visible on campus and facilitate greater engagement with other anthropology faculty. The Gateway Initiative has facilitated the creation of short videos of anthropology faculty speaking about particular issues within the discipline; these videos will be used in teaching the course starting this Spring, and are also a way of further introducing our diverse discipline and our faculty to students. Funding from the Gateway Initiative has also supported an undergraduate teaching fellow who helped reorganize course materials into modules, develop small group discussion exercises, and help to produce these short videos featuring anthropology faculty discussing key concepts in the field.

Computer Science 1: Introduction to Computer Science, Devin Balkcom, Thomas Cormen, and Hany Farid (Spring 2016)

Computer Science 1, a course originally designed to teach students to design, write, understand, and analyze code for computational problems, has grown in popularity immensely in recent years. This enthusiasm, while exciting, provided us with the challenge we brought to the Gateway Initiative: it had became more and more difficult to recognize struggles and respond to this large group of students in a timely and effective manner. Through our participation in Gateway, we have mobilized our team of undergraduate course teaching staff, providing pedagogical training and coaching to increase their reach as extensions of the instructor. We are also experimenting with new grading approaches to simultaneously challenge the students and grade more accurately according to the Dartmouth Scholarship Ratings in the ORC. Finally, we are introducing modifications to the lecture component of the course, engaging students with content that helps them better practice course skills: creative problem solving, thoughtful design, and inclusive analysis.

Physics 13: Studio Physics, Robyn Millan (Winter 2017)


Last Updated: 6/2/16