Teaching and Learning
From assignment design and ePortfolio implementation to course-level enhancements and online instruction, OCPI applies a holistic approach to build faculty capacity.
Our partnership with the OneHe global network of educators, for example, provides course design resources as well as scalable, sustainable microlearning and professional development opportunities for all faculty. ePortfolios, meanwhile, allow students to better organize and demonstrate their educational outcomes. By supporting the adaption and use of open educational resources (OER), OCPI helps fulfill AAC&U’s commitment to educational quality, accessibility, equity, and affordability.
A Unique Partnership and AAC&U Member Benefit for Faculty Development
As the higher education landscape changes, faculty must seek to improve their practice in order to meet institutional goals and ensure student success. To this end, AAC&U has partnered with OneHE to make affordable and sustainable faculty development available at scale. This partnership allows AAC&U members to access evidence-based OneHE resources and modules to improve learning and student success.
AAC&U has partnered with the OneHE global network of educators to deliver sustained and affordable faculty development at scale. OneHE helps educators develop their teaching practice through a safe and supportive online community with practical and engaging microlearning resources. The online platform enables educators to connect, collaborate, and share cutting-edge teaching and learning practices. Members also gain access to a global network of education experts.
AAC&U members also have access to OneHE’s vast bank of related resources, including:
- A community group that tracks developments in teaching and learning
- Online public and private community groups that facilitate discussions and sharing of best practices
- A searchable membership directory
- A teaching and learning glossary of common terms and guidance about the latest related research
AAC&U’s partnership with OneHE helps our member institutions ensure that all faculty have the support they need, when they need it, to be as effective as possible for their students. All AAC&U member institutions are eligible to join OneHE at a significantly discounted rate.
Assessing a student’s past, present, and future
ePortfolios digitally curate student work to provide an authentic representation of learning outcomes. From compiling course-related essays to documenting volunteer experiences and employment history, ePortfolios effectively demonstrate student learning in all the spaces where it occurs—both on and beyond the campus.
OCPI believes effective ePortfolios are both a product—an archive of learning artifacts—and a process that supports student learning: Building an ePortfolio leads students to naturally make valuable connections between various courses, assignments, and cocurricular activities through reflection of their past work. Whether showcasing students’ knowledge and skills for graduate school or a job application, ePortfolios paint an accurate portrait.
ePortfolios also allow faculty and other educational professionals to measure a student’s level of mastery across a wide range of learning outcomes. When combined with AAC&U’s VALUE rubrics, ePortfolios provide a means for direct assessment of student work drawn from the curriculum, co-curriculum, and beyond the campus.
A unified ePortfolio system guides students through curated courses, programs, activities, internships, research projects, and other high-impact practices. Work embedded within these experiences becomes the basis for measuring student progress and attainment. Beyond the individual student, ePortfolios enable reporting to external audiences and the benchmarking of achievements among and between peer institutions.
Open Educational Resources
Levelling the playing field
According to the College Board, a college student normally spends between $1,240 and $1,440 on course materials and textbooks per academic year. With the high costs of higher education a top concern of students (not to mention their families), open educational resources (OER) have emerged as a foundational strategy for improving student equity and college affordability.
OER play a key role in AAC&U’s mission of democratizing higher education. Faculty and students can use, customize, and share these free educational materials, from single lessons to entire textbooks, regardless of the size and type of institution.
But affordability is only one benefit of adopting and implementing OER in higher ed settings. AAC&U has partnered with members in advocating for ways to use OER as a lever to develop more equitable, inclusive, and diverse classrooms. Successful OER initiatives do not need to be massive, resource-intensive, or exhaustive. They do, however, require strategic planning, targeted approaches, collaborative leadership, and goal-oriented advocates. AAC&U’s Office of Curricular and Pedagogical Innovation (OCPI) has a variety of programming and events available to support our members in such efforts.
Empowering equitable learning
Conversations about equity in higher education often concentrate on topics such as financial aid, admissions, access, and wraparound services. Less attention is paid to the equally important matter of what actually happens in the classroom.
AAC&U’s approach to assignment redesign focuses intensely on the student’s classroom experience. Our goal is to make each aspect of an assignment—learning outcomes, tasks, and assessments—more transparent and equitable.
Our approach encourages faculty to examine their assignments from a student’s perspective and to teach with transparency. Faculty members and instructors can bolster students’ success, especially for underserved students, by sharing the underlying reasons for an assignment—namely, why and how courses and assignments are set up the way they are. These explanations can positively impact three key areas: academic confidence, a sense of belonging, and mastery of key skills.
Higher education institutions of all kinds have also benefited from applying AAC&U’s VALUE rubrics to assignment redesign. Additionally, AAC&U’s VALUE ADD tools provide faculty with resources to align student assignments with the VALUE rubrics. Unifying the curriculum to the assessment helps ensure content mastery and creates student opportunities for problem solving, analysis, ethical reasoning, and other situations beyond the classroom.