Last time I wrote about my struggle to find a way to introduce college faculty teams to a paradigm-shifting model for using backwards design to create outcomes-based, integrative, cross-discipline projects for academically under prepared students in learning communities. In an attempt to create an accessible and familiar big picture understanding, along with an easy-to-understand explanation for how all the parts of the evidence-based instructional design model worked together, I decided on a road journey metaphor. Following is the metaphor I created and presented in the start up training.
Here are the pictures I showed with the script I used as I was showing them. I began by asking the question…
Learner-centered, outcomes-based and integrated instructional delivery is not about pouring forth everything you know about your subject in long lectures…
It is also not about covering all the information in your course textbooks…
Instead it is about knowing how to begin with a focus on the intended outcome.
In Project DEgree, the outcomes are to become a successful college student and team member. These two outcomes represent the destination of this road trip. It is where your students will end up as a result of taking the integrated courses in their two terms of Project DEgree.
You as faculty teams will use your subject matter expertise to determine and build the integrated projects and assignments, the road, if you will, that will help your students arrive at this destination.
What is different about Project DEgree is that the students will not make this journey alone, but instead they will carpool with their peers in a cohort or learning community. Within this learning community, they will attend all their classes together.
The fuel for this journey that will empower them to arrive at the destination of successful college student and team member comes from your expertise in helping them build the skills, understand the concepts, and use the tools of your combined disciplines (Developmental Reading, Writing, Math and College Success). Students will use these concepts and skills to resolve the issues they encounter in real-life application of your subject matter content in significant, relevant and authentic projects and assignments.
The integrated and authentic assignments you design as a team will include lots of real-life practice applying and integrating what they learn in your linked courses to significant and meaningful assignments and projects. Some of these will often involve practice out in the larger community. In our metaphor, it is similar to getting on the road for driving practice.
Because the research supports the efficacy of multiple drafts with feedback, you will build in pit-stops to allow students to receive feedback on their practice sessions.
After some reflection students will engage in continued practice, using what they gained from the feedback to refine their skills and understandings as they work toward mastery.
All the while, as the bumps, potholes and flat tires of the journey take their toll, you’ll need to be ready and available to provide emergency roadside assistance to help them stay the course toward the destination.
Once they successfully complete their two terms in Project DEgree and cross the finish line having proven themselves ready for college level work, you will plan with them how to present their work publicly and celebrate their enormous accomplishment!
While you will be intentional in your design to make these things happen, sometimes this happens spontaneously in the selfless and generous acts of others. Watch this beautiful example of outcomes-based, learner-centered, integrated instructional coaching and see if you can identify each piece of the model. In this gorgeous example, Mo Cheeks of the Portland Trailblazers comes alongside a young woman who has a relevant, real-life, learner-centered goal of singing the National Anthem to open an NBA game. Watch as Mo becomes the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage, focused on supporting the ‘student’ in her desired outcome, providing the emergency roadside assistance when she bottoms out, and enlisting the help of the larger community to support her in that effort. If ever there was a picture of integrated, learner-centered, outcomes-based instructional coaching, this is it! Enjoy!