Initiative Promotes Active & Experiential Learning

Last Updated: 11/07/2019

On Thursday, Oct. 17, Arts & Sciences Support of Education Through Technology (ASSETT) along with the College of Arts and Sciences, hosted a kick-off event for a three-year Innovation Incubator initiative. This initiative brings faculty participants together from the divisions of Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences to collaborate on four separate teams to promote active, engaging, and experiential learning through the use of technology. 

“An overarching objective of the incubator is the formation of a sustainable community of educational innovators,” says David Brown, Divisional Dean of Social Sciences for the College of Arts & Sciences and a sponsor of the Innovation Incubator. “Our expectations for the program have grown along with the interest and energy we see in the faculty involved in the program.  We think this initiative, if successful, could serve as a template for how to effect change in, not just higher education, but in large organizations. Perhaps most importantly, the more successful the incubator is, the more students will benefit from an energized and dynamic movement of faculty, staff, and students whose driving motivation is to learn.”

Each faculty team has its own objective:  

  • Developing resources and learning objects related to metacognition and mindfulness, which can be implemented in courses across the college. 
  • Establishing a peer-to-peer support environment for faculty and students to create a multimodal publishing collective to produce projects that meet academic standards and are open and accessible to the community at large.
  • Exploring how we can use technology to generate meaningful opportunities for students, both inside and outside the classroom. 
  • Integrating data science methods and tools across the curriculum to create an inclusive environment for data science in the College of Arts & Sciences. 

The kick-off event brought the burgeoning incubator community together to engage, drive excitement and gather input, which will be utilized to develop the community throughout the course of this initiative. Beth Osnes, an Associate Professor in Theater & Dance, who is also an incubator participant, mobilized event attendees while sharing her vision for the three-year initiative, “The Innovation Incubator presents an opportunity for CU professors to create communities of practice around various ways technology can be utilized to support and enrich teaching. By working together for three years, we will have the opportunity to support each other’s ideas, problem-solve challenges, and cheer each other’s successes. The invaluable guidance and support from the ASSETT staff is a major strength of this endeavor.”

Participants also visited interactive tables representing each of the four teams, in order to learn more about that specific team’s project objectives — all of which include student engagement in the projects starting in year two of the initiative. Building connection across participating faculty teams is a cornerstone of the incubator. As this community-driven effort will encourage professional development, support student success, and provide the opportunity for teams to publish their work while creating a new way to view education and, even possibly, create a movement. In the words of Beth Osnes, “The incubator and its projects will serve as aspirational examples of dynamic teaching that will no doubt inspire more of our CU faculty to adopt innovative uses of technology in their classrooms.”

The event would not have been possible without the generosity of local supporters including the primary event sponsor, Anchor Point foundation, as well as the Boulder Book Store, Foolish Craig’s Cafe, Laughing Goat Coffeehouse, Pekoe Sip House and the CU Book Store

Visit the ASSETT website to learn more about the Innovation Incubator, including ongoing project updates.