Active Learning with Technology (ALT) Classroom

Requests for Proposals for the 2014-2015 academic year are no longer being solicited. If you would like information about how to apply in the future, please contact the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence at ctfe@gmu.edu or 993-8652.

Fall 2013

The Office of the Provost seeks proposals from faculty members who wish to teach in Mason’s new Active Learning with Technology (ALT) classroom. This incubation space, where faculty can implement and assess new teaching and learning ideas, is designed to support interactive and technology-enhanced learning (see University of Minnesota’s page on Active Learning Classrooms).

Several years ago, faculty members were a central part of the design process for the classrooms in what is now Exploratory Hall. As a result of these conversations, the ALT classroom is very different from other classrooms we currently have at Mason. In this 72-seat room, there are eight round tables with nine seats each; three computer stations are available at each table with separate projection capabilities. The instructor station, with master controls, is in the center of the classroom.

The goal of this RFP is to identify faculty who would begin teaching in the ALT classroom during the 2014-2015 academic year. We seek faculty from across the disciplines; currently there are faculty from English, physics, astronomy, math, history, and chemistry teaching in the room. Selected faculty will participate in a series of conversations and workshops about what teaching and learning looks like in this specialized space and hear from faculty who are currently teaching in the room. Specifically, we will plan for the types of learning activities and assignments that could be carried out in the classroom. Collaborative partners from within the institution (e.g., Campus Planning, Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence, Division of Instructional Technology, etc.) will participate in the conversations and workshops to provide needed support and relevant expertise to faculty participants. These conversations and workshops will begin in the spring 2014 semester and continue throughout the following academic year.

Applicants should be able to describe the types of active, engaged teaching and learning experiences and aspirational outcomes that they could imagine achieving within this type of collaborative classroom.

Proposals should address the following questions:

  1. What course would you like to teach in this space?
  2. What semester do you plan to teach this course? Fall 2014? Spring 2015? Both? If your course could be offered either semester, then please indicate that flexibility.
  3. What is the usual course size? What is the likely demand for a 72-seat course section? (Please note: some academic units paired faculty sections in order to meet enrollments for this room.)
  4. What types of collaborative learning experiences do you want to foster in this class? How have you worked to achieve collaborative learning experiences in the past?
  5. What types of active learning experiences do you want to foster in this class? What strategies do or might you use to insure the necessary student preparation and engagement for each class session?
  6. Generally speaking, how have you used technology in this course? Please speak to your willingness to experiment with technology innovations that support student learning.
  7. What outcomes are you trying to realize? How do you imagine this learning space helping you achieve those outcomes? Please consider the social nature of the learning environment as well as the emphasis on active, collaborative, technology-enhanced teaching and learning.

Given the unique nature of this room, Mason will make a commitment to selected faculty that they will be guaranteed that their identified course will be scheduled in the ALT classroom for at least two consecutive offerings of the course, although they may not get their preferred teaching days and times. While faculty will still be required to give the university course evaluations, we will encourage Deans and academic unit leadership to use alternative forms of assessment of teaching effectiveness during the first two course offerings in order to avoid penalizing faculty for the learning curves expected.

Faculty selected to teach in the ALT classroom must agree to teach their course in the room for at least two semesters, in order that we can maximize our learning about promising practices and strategies for using the space effectively. Additionally, faculty will participate in the institution-level assessment plan for the ALT classroom that is currently in place.

Requirements – all proposals should:

  • Be no more than 4 pages.
  • Include the name and contact information for participating faculty or faculty team members.
  • Identify the course title and typical number of enrolled students.
  • Address each of the questions above, along with any additional information relevant to consideration of the proposal.
  • Be submitted electronically to the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence no later than Monday, November 4th. Selected faculty members or teams will be notified no later than Monday, November 25th.

For more information, please contact Laura Manno or Kim Eby.

Download the RFP.