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Gateway Initiative

The Provost's Office, in collaboration with the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) and Academic Computing, is excited to offer a new opportunity to support the redesign of certain courses.

Called the Gateway Initiative, this effort is 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.  In such classes, course content is very often delivered in a traditional lecture format.  Yet a growing body of research over the past decade, in particular from the fields of cognitive psychology and education, has shown that other pedagogical approaches, sometimes in combination with technological innovations, can be significantly more effective than the traditional lecture format, evidenced by improved learning outcomes, retention, and student satisfaction.

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.  Strategies to enable more opportunities for active learning in large enrollment classes will vary depending on the targeted course and the goals for its redesign.  While some faculty may be interested in fundamentally shifting their teaching methods - like moving away from a lecture-based format to a flipped classroom - participation in this Initiative is not limited to proposals focused on such large changes.  Moreover, the Initiative is not designed to change the content of a course or alter the length of time students spend in the classroom. Some redesign elements may be common across courses, while the overall outcome will likely be unique to each redesigned course.  This Initiative is the beginning of a larger effort to invest resources and attention in learning, with a current focus on supporting faculty in course redesign by matching them with dedicated teams having expertise in project management, instructional design, analytics (to aid with assessment of the effectiveness of the redesign), library resources, and intellectual property issues.

The Gateway Initiative is funded for three years, and will focus on 12 large enrollment courses. Up to four courses will be chosen for redesign in the upcoming academic year; new RFPs will be announced in project years two and three. Proposals are encouraged from individuals or groups of faculty teaching a single course, some or all faculty involved teaching sections of the same course, or from departments. Proposals should be sent in pdf format to dcal@dartmouth.edu by noon on Friday, May 23, 2014.  Proposals should be a page in length, single spaced, and include the following:

1.  Course name, course number, most recent enrollment figures, median and mean grades, and the terms in which the course will be taught for the next two years.
2.  A brief statement of what you hope a redesign of this course will accomplish.
3.  An indication how elements of a successful redesign (via a formal assessment process, to be developed as part of the course redesign process) will be sustained and disseminated to others in your department.

Please also note that funds are available in the budget to support faculty time for planning and re-design purposes.  The appropriate Dean and the Provost will negotiate the amount and nature of the support.

Resources and references are available here.

Last Updated: 4/29/14