Launching in Spring 2021, Spark is designed for instructors from social sciences, humanities, and the arts interested in developing instructional approaches that foster knowledge, skills, strategies, and habits of mind that students need to become successful learners. This program aims to create discipline-specific understandings of life-long learning skills and attitudes by primarily focusing on foundational or introductory courses. Guided by the scholarship of UD faculty who specialize in learning, this program utilizes individual reflection, work in faculty-teams, CTAL’s Course Design Institute, and personalized instructional design support. Participation in Spark will result in courses that provide explicit attention to the learning process and support students as they become self-directed learners who better understand how they themselves learn.

With the support of CTAL and its Faculty Commons Partners, Spark faculty will develop course specific learning outcomes related to at least one of the following:

    • How to be a better student. Examples include learning how to engage in self-regulated learning, and/or learning how to approach and complete complex reading or writing tasks.
    • How to examine and construct knowledge. Examples include learning how to create and assess truthfulness, source trustworthiness, and reliability of inquiry methodologies (e.g. ethnography, narrative research, textual analysis, etc.).
    • How to pursue self-directed or intentional learning. Examples include developing a learning agenda and plan, value continuous improvement, becoming an intentional learner, being a reflective learner.
    • How to develop an openness to learning new things and curiosity about the world.

Instructors who implement learning how to learn within their course will help students:

    • Read and study effectively
    • Reflect on their own learning more effectively
    • Set a schedule for successful learning
    • Identify sources of reliable information
    • Construct knowledge
    • Frame useful questions
    • Create a course specific learning plan

Participating instructors will begin the program by completing CTAL’s popular 3-day Course Design Institute alongside instructors teaching other foundational or introductory courses from across the university. Instructors will then partner with instructional designers over the summer to flesh out their syllabus, assignments, assessments, and Canvas course site. UD Library staff will also be available to help faculty identify appropriate course materials. Regular check-ins with a CTAL staff member will occur throughout the summer and during the semester in which their course is taught. Participating instructors will receive a $2,500 S-contract to support their summer course redesign efforts.

Questions about Spark can be directed to CTAL Director, Dr. Matthew Trevett-Smith.

For information on CTAL’s other Foundational Course Transformation Initiative programs, please visit our website.