Faculty Interest Group discusses importance of student group activities


    Faculty members discussed the importance of group activities in the classroom at the Faculty Interest Group meeting Tuesday afternoon.

    A FIG is a group of five to thirty people with a shared interest in a particular aspect of teaching and learning, according to the Koehler Center website. 

    Beata Jones, TCU professor and meeting coordinator, asked groups of faculty members to discuss different active learning approaches they have used in class.

    Professors mentioned they use online services like Google Docs for peer editing and games like Jeopardy to help their students prepare for tests and quizzes.

    They also discussed how they overcame challenges in the classroom. One professor said computers in the classroom interfere with student engagement and can be distractions, so he started teaching from the back of the room.

    Another professor said the physical setup of the classrooms is a problem. Lecture halls and rooms with stationary seating do not easily allow group activities. Once the the new Learning Center is completed, everyone is going to be fighting for the new classrooms, she said.

    Provost Nowell Donovan spoke about the role of FIG in bringing in the new idea of teaching to the Academy of Tomorrow, the university's plan for teaching students to handle a world of constant change.

    “With new facilities comes new direction for teaching and learning,” he said,

    Students need to be prepared to face change by teaching them how to work collaboratively so they motivate each other to complete tasks and ultimately produce better results, Donovan said.

    “How is what we are doing of value to humanity? We have to look at the world we live in and realize that we are very much a part of it,” Donovan said.

    Donovan will speak in more detail about the Academy of Tomorrow at a FIG meeting on November 14, 2013.