Teaching Tuning Disruptions: The AHA Tuning Project and Practical Suggestions for Rethinking History Courses, Assignments, and Curricula

AHA Session 257
Saturday, January 7, 2017: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Mile High Ballroom 3C (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Daniel J. McInerney, Utah State University
Marianne S. Wokeck, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis
John Bezis-Selfa, Wheaton College
Jodi R. B. Eastberg, Alverno College
Victoria M. Grieve, Utah State University
David Kinkela, State University of New York at Fredonia
Leah Shopkow, Indiana University

Session Abstract

The AHA’s “Tuning” project draws faculty into thoughtful discussions of the knowledge, skills, and abilities we seek to develop in our students through history courses and curricula.  One of the key goals is to make our implicit assumptions about historical study more explicit to learners.  We are asked to shift away from an individualized focus on  “my course” to a shared model of instruction grounded in the ways teaching assignments integrate with “our curriculum.” Historians are encouraged to open a broad conversation about our disciplinary principles by moving across 2-year/4-year institutional divides. We are also asked to discuss the learning outcomes for our field not only with instructors but also with a diverse range of “stakeholders” including students, alumni, parents, employers, and policymakers. And we come to understand the importance of reflecting more rigorously – and collectively – on the types of assignments we create for our courses, tying assignments as closely as possible to the “outcomes” we define for a class.

   In what ways has the project, since 2012, prompted historians to reexamine and reframe the classes they teach?  Rather than discussing course “disruptions” in the abstract, this session will examine the subject in actual practice. The roundtable will gather a diverse group of faculty who have used their introductory, upper-division, and capstone classes as “labs” for Tuning-related experiments in teaching and learning. Presentations will be concise and pointed, addressing concrete ways in which instructors: (a) appeal to both majors and non-majors; (b) connect content and competencies; (c) develop appropriate class exercises; (d) connect topics of study to an intentional curriculum; (e) contribute to a record of assessing student learning; and (f) clarify the skills students have developed. The goal is to review a set of innovative teaching ideas in the first half of the time period -- and, in the remaining 45 minutes, open the floor to further audience contributions and questions that address creative teaching strategies.

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