Volume V: Then, Now & In the Next Decade

Engaging Learners: Engaging Learning - Part I

Over almost two decades, Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) has been building networks of individuals and institutions taking responsibility for improving the quality and character of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning of undergraduates in American classrooms and labs. This is a large and diverse network, involving faculty at all career stages and from all STEM fields, representing colleges and universities across the country with diverse mission, identity and circumstances. The network includes academic administrators who share the vision of their STEM faculty about what robust STEM learning for 21st century undergraduates is to be, and who have the opportunity to ensure the infrastructures are in place for the efforts of faculty and the learning of undergraduates to flourish. The network also includes representatives of a wide variety of stakeholders, including disciplinary societies and educational and professional associations, as well as architects and other design professionals whose work influences and is influenced by efforts to strengthen STEM learning of undergraduates.

A major PKAL initiative at this time, with support from the National Science Foundation, is to promote informed collaborations— on individual campuses between campuses involved in local and regional networks— through which promising practices and lessons learned about how to design environments for engaging learners, environments that produce engaged learners. As part of this initiative, PKAL is assembling resources that will be used, tested, and critiqued by the community during the coming year. This is a work-in-progress undertaking, recognizing the depth and breadth of wisdom, expertise and experience relevant to shaping the future of undergraduate STEM learning in this country.

At this early stage in our work, we assembled a group of nationally-recognized pedagogical pioneers, asking them what worked for them— and why— in the process of transforming undergraduate STEM learning. From their stories and reports, and those from other sources, we have begun to distill some common practices and lessons learned. This Guide is a first step to share these with the larger community— those directly involved with this initiative, colleagues within and beyond the broader PKAL network.

A fundamental lesson learned from the stories and reflections we have been gathering is the imperative need for transformation of learning to become a community responsibility. We hope this Guide serves that end.

Below find excerpts from the "work-in-progress" PKAL Guide to Engaging Learners: Engaging Learning: