Community of Practice

A year-long program focusing on a topic about enhancing teaching and learning
In this Section

A NTLC Community of Practice (CoP) is a year-long program focusing on a topic or issue about enhancing teaching and learning. It is comprised of a group of instructors who come together to explore a topic in which all of the participants have a mutual interest in studying; one that encourages "honest discussion" of some higher education issue.

Classroom Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs)

Classroom Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs): Integrating Original Research into the Classroom

Steve Nold, Biology Department & CoP facilitator, assisted teachers in engaging undergraduate students in the process of original discovery. CoP members discussed current literature, implement a research project in one of their courses, and measure the impact of the experience on student learning and development. Students benefit from participating in an open-ended research investigation and data harvested can likely be used to further instructors’ research agendum.  In this CoP, students are the ultimate beneficiaries. This CoP covered an approach that is applicable to a wide range of courses.  Anyone who is conducting original research can achieve course goals while including classroom students in the research effort.

Integrating and Applying RSD and ACRL Frameworks

Integrating and Applying RSD and ACRL Frameworks

Sylvia Tiala, Technology Education, and Jessy Polzer, Library Learning Center, co-facilitate a CoP that engaged participants to integrate and apply the Research Skills Development (RSD) Framework and the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy (FIL). Members played with these flexible frameworks in the context of an existing course and develop a related instructional project.  Personal reflection and cross-disciplinary discussion revealed pedagogical gaps, challenge expertise blind spots, and re-frame approaches to research and/or information literacy skills development. This is a nation-wide, online CoP that required using technologies to attend meetings, engage discussion and submit feedback and materials. Participants engaged with participants from multiple institutions.

Locally Sourced: Using Information to Reflect and Create

Locally Sourced: Using Information to Reflect and Create

Heather Stecklein, University Archivist & CoP facilitator, assisted instructors in collaboratively creating and evaluating classroom exercises related to media literacy, applied research, and the ethical presentation of information in class projects. Participants developed course assignments that required students to apply evaluative research skills to their coursework. This CoP explored local data, using primary resources according to the guidelines created by the Association for College and Research Libraries framework. The CoP also worked through ways to encourage students to identify their own place within scholarly and professional communications. In particular, an ethics-based session demonstrated how students should consider their responsibility to provide accurate context as they summarize and represent their sources in their final projects.


Sustainability Infused Across the Curriculum

Sustainability Infused Across the Curriculum

Wendy Jedlicka, CPP, ISSP-SA, instructor in Stout’s Design Department, CoP facilitator, and the national coordinator for the Partnership for Academic Leadership in Sustainability (PALS), and an acknowledged leader in applied sustainability, guided instructors in infusing applied sustainability best practices into their curriculum. Using a hybrid format and content used with Stout's popular Intro to Sustainable Design and Development (DES150) course, individuals participate in a series of readings and exercises to identify opportunities where they meaningfully infused sustainability into one of their courses. Courses selected for the CoP didn’t have to be about sustainability, but instead this CoP looked for natural ways to include this topic into any course or standalone module.

User Experience (UX)

User Experience (UX) Community of Practice

Mitch Ogden, Department of English & Philosophy and CoP facilitator, brought together faculty interested under the broad umbrella of user experience (UX), which included user-centered design, usability, human-computer interaction, user testing, interface design, playtesting, interaction design, and many other related areas. UX is a cross-disciplinary enterprise and this CoP provided a meaningful and sustained opportunity to bring faculty members together from different departments and programs to share ideas about teaching and research, fostering innovation and collaboration across campus. Industry is clamoring for graduates who have developed a robust UX perspective with the accompanying practical skills to put UX into action in many different contexts. We are calling together our critical mass of UX people at Stout to improve the teaching and learning of UX and create more opportunities around UX on our campus.  Participants identified and pursued a professional or pedagogical goal or project (PoPGoP) and got together with CoP members twice a month: once to discuss our PoPGoPs—sharing ideas and expertise—and again to participate in an open UX symposium where participants took turns facilitating an activity or discussion for the larger campus community, including students.


2017-18 Communities of Practice:

Information: Inspiration, Reflection, and Application

Encountering Information: Inspiration, Reflection and Application

Heather Stecklein, University Archivist and CoP facilitator, assisted instructors in developing practices and assignments for teaching students to distinguish accurate scholarly resources from less reputable alternatives. An ethics-based session established ways to encourage students to consider their responsibility to provide accurate context as they summarize and represent their sources in their final projects. Teacher-designed course projects guided students in applying primary sources in Stout's archival collections and the collections of the larger University Library. Student learning was assessed in a variety of ways.

NTLC Teaching Champions

NTLC Teaching Champions

From 2014-16, NTLC was proud to sponsor the Teaching Champions program. Renee Howarton (facilitator) and instructors engaged in targeted book discussions, interacted with select speakers, researched teaching-related issues, developed and assessed a course-based scholarly project, and shared it with others. The goal of this CoP was to provide a supportive environment for concentrated exploration of effective teaching strategies. We thank our participants:

Devin Berg (Engineering & Technology)  Genesea Carter (English & Philosophy)
Chris Freeman (Social Sciences) Jim Handley (Social Sciences)
Jerry Hui (Music) Mike Mensink (Educational Psychology)
Brian Oenga (Business) Marlann Patterson (Physics)
Dave Plum (Operations & Management) Jennifer Reinke (Human Development & Family Studies)
Sylvia Tiala (Teaching, Learning & Leadership) Kim Zagorski (Social Sciences)
Retention of Environmental Science Students

Retention of New Environmental Science Students: Focusing on Mindsets and Skills that Promote Long-Term Learning

Krista James (facilitator) guided colleagues in exploring how to increase retention of new Environmental Science students through developing and implementing curriculum that focuses on mindsets and skills that promote long-term learning. Participants researched and discussed best practices that help students develop a growth mindset towards learning.

SimSchool: Teaching Simulations as Sound Pedagogy

SimSchool: Teaching Simulations as Sound Pedagogy

Sylvia Tiala (facilitator) guided faculty from the School of Education in collaboratively investigating the viability of integrating teaching simulations into teacher preparation courses.



Infusing Diversity Across the Curriculum Project

This project was offered for five years, with 46 instructors transforming their courses with the infusion of multiculturalism and diversity-based content and experiences. Throughout the history of the project, a wealth of course assignments, assessments, and student and faculty learning outcomes were developed. The disciplines of past participants have included: Social Science, Food & Nutrition, Education, Business, Engineering, Human Development and Family Studies, Marketing, Marketing Education, Psychology, Mathematics, English, Philosophy, and many others. This project has reached several hundred students across disciplines and across campus. The Infusing Diversity Across the Curriculum Project was facilitated by two faculty co-investigators, Virginia Lea (2010-17) and Holly Teuber (2010-14) and the Nakatani Teaching and Learning Center's director. It has also been the recipient of the UW System Ann Lydecker Diversity Education Award in 2012. The project was supported by UW System OPID as well as UW-Stout's Chancellor's Office, Provost Office, Diversity Leadership Team, campus Deans, and department chairs.