What Faculty Say about Gateway Courses

Spring 2016

Devin Balkcom, Thomas Cormen, and Hany Farid, Computer Science 1: Introduction to Computer Science

“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.”

Summer 2015 and Spring 2016

Sienna Craig and Laura Ogden, Anthropology 3: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

“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.”

Spring 2015

Misha Gronas, Russian 13: Slavic Folklore

“Through the Gateway Initiative, this course underwent a year-long redesign effort that involved three of the five 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 two additional student TA’s to lead interactive discussions, and the development of two 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.”

Winter 2015

Paul Christesen, Classics 1: Antiquity Today — An Introduction to Classical Studies

“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.”

Tom Jack, Patrick Dolph, and Erik Griffin, Biology 13: Gene Expression and Inheritance

“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 three faculty, an instructional designer, a subject librarian, a gap-year ’14 Dartmouth Teaching Fellow, and various consultations with other educators across the college.”

Fall 2015

Scott Pauls, Math 3: Calculus

“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.”