UPDATE: Deep Learning & Shifting Paradigms in the Humanities

deadline for submissions: 
April 15, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
contact email: 

Humanities have long since recognized the importance of critical reading and thinking, or the ability for students to engage in higher-order thinking skills to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate texts and ideas.  With the growing decline of interest in the humanities and so many students now enrolling in colleges for more vocational ends, there is an emerging shift away from in‐depth reading/critical dialogue in both college and American culture.  Thus, many students now enter college with fewer critical tools that we once took for granted and that once made humanities engaging.   How do we approach this new cultural/student paradigm?  Are there more avenues of approach than simply resisting or easing up on expectations/requirements/objectives?  Proposals for this roundtable should address this concern over the shifting paradigms—or where students are coming from/have been prior coming to college, as well as the changing needs/experiences/potentiality of students—and be willing to tackle some important theoretical and pedagogical questions.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Course Design: Beyond traditional lecture/small group discussion strategies, what are some theoretically innovative ways to meet our incoming student learners? What are realistic expectations in terms of course design/coverage for today’s students?
  • Learning:  What are some successful active learning strategies to promote critical thinking for humanities courses for today’s culture, which doesn’t necessarily place great emphasis on reading/discussing ideas, etc.?  From what classroom activities can we expect current students to enjoy/benefit?
  • Reading:  How much to assign for content?  What about assigning long readings?  What are realistic reading comprehension expectations?
  • Evaluation:  Are exams or papers a better gauge of progress, or a mix of the two (or more)?  Theoretically, will quizzes/testing help incoming students retain humanities--‐based knowledge? How much can we/should we on “grade” style in papers for upper--‐level courses?
  • Technology in and out of the class:  How does this culture’s reliance on technology help or hinder teachers of humanities?  What do we expect?  What can we use? What frustrates us but can help in our own course objectives?

Abstracts for this roundtable should be 200--‐300 words and include a brief synopsis of the area of focus with theoretical and pedagogical discussion points.  Hopefully, this will be a sharing of information, so proposals that offer to bring in samples, share tips, handouts, syllabi, etc. will be most welcome.  All abstracts and a brief bio to mmodarelli@walsh.edu by April 15, 2017.