Professional Learning Clubs (PLC)

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What?Who?Why? • How?The 2018-2019 PLC sign ups will open July 15, 2018


What is a PLC?

A Professional Learning Club is a group of faculty that meets to collaboratively reflect on and improve their teaching practices.  It involves examining the relationship between teaching practices and student outcomes and then evaluating those practices using the students’ work.  These learning clubs will consist of 4-8 faculty who will take the year to explore, implement, and reflect on specific, empirically-grounded instructional strategies.

wordcloud A Professional Learning Club (PLC):

  1. Has a focus on improving student learning and student experiences
  2. Involves collaborative teams
  3. Engages in collective inquiry into best practice and current reality
  4. Is action oriented
  5. Has a commitment to continuous improvement wherein members collectively:
    • gather evidence of current levels of student understanding,
    • develop strategies and ideas to build on strengths and weaknesses in that learning,
    • implement those strategies and ideas,
    • analyze the impact of the changes to discover what was effective and what was not
    • apply new knowledge in the next cycle of continuous improvement, and
    • focus on results aligned with goals for student learning
From Dufour, Dufour, Eaker & Many, “Learning By Doing” (2006, pp. 2-7) a PLC

Who can participate?

Anyone who teaches at CofC can participate, however in order to be successful participants must:

  • be able to commit to a year-long process.
  • teach minimum of one course per semester for that academic year (Fall and Spring).
  • not be on sabbatical for either semester.
  • have an open mind and be committed to increasing student learning and comprehension through improved teaching – never say “I already do this” or “This is the way I’ve always done it.”
  • be open to critical reflection.

In addition to participants, each Club will have one faculty facilitator whose role it is to guide the group’s work and implementation.  If you are interested in being a Club Facilitator please indicate your desire in the application.  A full listing of the facilitator’s responsibilities can be found in the Roles & Responsibilities document.  View the full list of Roles & Responsibilities

Why participate?

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning encourages us to ask questions about how students learn and how we can help them learn more effectively.  It’s not often that faculty have the opportunity to share their teaching successes and struggles with one another.  Professional Learning Clubs provide faculty with the much-needed space to reflect on their teaching and collaborate on strategies to enhance student learning.

Also, while pedagogy may not be your primary research focus, the Professional Learning Clubs will give participants the opportunity to collect and analyze data that could be presented at a variety of academic conferences or even published.  Scholarly opportunities abound as our extensive list of Journals and Conferences on the Scholarship of Teaching demonstrates.

Still not convinced?  Consider the perspective of Associate Professor of Philosophy, John Draeger: “Why Bother with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning” page 12.

How do you join?

The next round of PLCs take place during the 2018-2019 academic year.  Sign-ups will begin in mid-July and the clubs will meet for the first time in late August and then every two weeks after that, throughout the entire academic year.

Potential topics so far are:

  • Using the Gallup Strengths in teaching and with your students.
  • Games and Gamification for learning.
  • Experiential Learning.
  • Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in the classroom.
  • Online Teaching Strategies/Best Practices.
  • Best Practices Through Teaching Observation.
  • Integrated Performance Assessment.

The application for the 2018-2019 academic year will be available right here on July 15, 2018.