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New FLCs explore philosophy, resources

Two Faculty Learning Communities, sponsored by the CTLD, approach student success from different but interrelated angles.

By Lindsey Coulter

January 28, 2019

Emily Ragan writing on white boardIt’s no secret that engaged learners who can clearly identify the value of their education are more likely to persist to graduation. This spring, the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design has two new Faculty Learning Communities that are capitalizing on that idea, approaching student support and success through pedagogy and finding innovative ways to save students money without sacrificing instructional quality.

Applying the Philosophy and Methods of Experiential Education in the Classroom and Online – Spring 2019

“Applying the Philosophy and Methods of Experiential Education in the Classroom and Online,” facilitated by Christian Itin, MSW, Ph.D., and professor of social work, explores a range of teaching and learning theories connected to the Philosophy of Experiential Education and the active engagement of the learner in the educational process. Applications in face-to-face and online courses will be explored to engage students, build critical thinking and expand academic success.

“Specific attention will be given to how the philosophy informs work with first-generation, non-traditional and students from historically oppressed populations,” Itin said. “The ideal outcome is for faculty members to re-examine and potentially revise their teaching methods; this could include using methods that are reflective of the philosophy or refining existing methods to more fully reflect the philosophy.”

An in-person session will take place in CTLD Classroom CN 103 on Feb. 1 from noon-1:30 p.m. Zoom will also be available for those who cannot attend but would like to participate virtually. Participants will plan future sessions at the Feb. 1 meeting. If you are interested or desire more information, contact Christian Itin at

Effective Teaching Using Open Educational Resources – Spring 2019

Facilitated by Emily Ragan, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry, “Effective Teaching Using Open Educational Resources” asks a provocative education question: How would you like to save your students thousands of dollars per semester? Using open educational resources can save students substantial amounts of money while also ensuring first-day-of-class access for all students and exciting opportunities for faculty to innovate in their classrooms.

This Faculty Learning Community is funded by a just-approved state OER grant, making it the rare FLC in which participants get a stipend for participating. Participants will reflect on their courses’ learning objectives and how to effectively use open educational resources to support student learning.

“We hope to increase the number of students at MSU Denver who have a course using open educational resources in place of a traditional textbook, online homework system or other course materials they would have had to purchase,” she said, estimating that more than 200 students could benefit from faculty involvement in the FLC.

“Faculty should also be on the lookout for an opportunity to get a $500 stipend when they actually adopt OER in one of their classes. Stay tuned for more on that,” Ragan said.

This FLC is also supported by state-funded stipends for participants thanks to a recent Colorado Department of Higher Education grant.

The first session of the OER FLC is Thursday from 2-4 p.m. in CN 103. Future meetings will be held Thursdays from 2-4 p.m. as well. If you are interested or desire more information, contact Ragan at

To learn more about these and other spring FLCs, visit the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design website.

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