August 19, 2020

Future-Proofing Course Design for Gen Alpha: A Framework for Autonomy Featuring Collaboration, Failure, and Ungrading

Room: ESLC 046


It's been a season of challenges in the academic classroom: COVID, disengagement, distraction, polarization - you know what I'm talking about. Doing business as usual is no longer an option. There is generational shifting happening underfoot, and it's time for academic courses to get dialed in to the future of education. Society needs graduates who are more than dutiful, compliant followers of directions. It need thinkers and doers, creatives and inventors and innovators. It needs students who have become the very best of which humanity is capable, and it's in our hands as educators to help that happen. In this presentation, I'll be identifying how the traditional approach to course design is not only coming up short but is, in a number of ways, doing real harm to students. I'll be discussing the way that people learn, I mean, really learn, and then I'll be proposing a methodology for redesigning courses to facilitate deep, long-lasting learning. Finally, I'll share some experimental course-design strategies, review their pros and cons, and discuss the possibilities they suggest for the future of course design.

*Participants you will learn about the limitations of traditional academic course design, an alternative approach based on human nature and learning theory, and specific principles useful for redesigning courses.

Lisa GabbertJohn Engler

Principal Lecturer

Born and raised in Wisconsin, John Engler has been teaching courses in research writing, creative writing, and literature at USU since 2004. He has a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University, an M.A. in American Studies from Utah State University, and an M.F.A. in Nonfiction Writing from Pacific Lutheran University. In his time at USU, he has taught nearly 200 classes with students from every major on campus. He and his wife of 30 years live in a remodeled turn-of-the century farmhouse, are parents of six children, and have two grandchildren who live much too far away in Arizona.