The Art of Teaching Honors Courses and Honors Contracts Susan R. Rakow, Ph.D. [email protected] 216-523-7296 Developing an Honors Contract Meet with the Individual Student What does she already know? What does she want to learn or do in this course? How might you help the student develop a passion for your subject as a result of their work on this contract? How might you help this individual student understand what it means to be a “scholar” or “expert” in your field? Basic Starting Assumptions We all know our discipline. We all know how to help our typical CSU students gain the essentials in our discipline in a particular course. Knowledge Skills Attitudes Values Student Teacher Magic of Teaching & Learning Content How should Honors Courses, and Contracts be Different? Start with the WHO: Honors Students Background and preparation Motivation Surprise! Study Skills and Work Habits (often lacking) Maturity (asynchronous development) Get to Know the Individuals BLOOM’S TAXONOMY (cognitive) Know Understand Apply Analyze Evaluate Create Depth. Complexity. Challenge. Varies for Each Individual Student GUIDING QUESTIONS AND POSSIBLE RESOURCES References: The Ingredients of Challenge by Carrie Winstanley Guide to Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools by Paul and Elder (distribute) How should Honors Courses, and Contracts be Different? A Contract is an explicit agreement between faculty and student. THE CONTENT AND LEARNING ACTIVITIES Different, not just More Qualitatively NOT Quantitatively Different Greater Depth and Complexity Challenging for an individual student (contracts) Strong Contracts v. Weak Contracts 3 Key Questions on the Honors Contract Course Petition: How does the contract modify the non-honors version of the course? What additional and/or different work will the student perform? (be as specific as possible) Ho will the outcomes deepen or extend the student’s learning beyond what would be achieved in the non-honors version of the course (please be as specific as possible) How will assessment of the honors student differ from assessment of typical students What portion of the course grade will be accounted for by the honors component of the course? Strong Contracts v. Weak Contracts QUESTION 1: Weak Contracts “The honors student will be responsible for completing the team term project by themselves. Double the work.” “The student will create a more comprehensive ___ campaign plan. More in-depth.” “Will write a 1500 word book review essay on top of regular requirements.” “Honors student will produce an expanded 10-12 page assigned research paper on a topic related to the curriculum of the course, incorporating 6 or more scholarly sources.” Strong Contracts v. Weak Contracts QUESTION 2: Weak Contracts Answer is omitted “Student will have a deeper knowledge of their industry as they will do double the work.” “Other students will not produce as extensive a research paper and honors students will produce a draft for revision.” “The student will have a better understanding of important concepts and principles of ___.” Strong Contracts v. Weak Contracts QUESTION 3(Assessment): Weak Contracts “I will grade the project more rigorously for the honors student.” “Student will meet with professor during office hours to discuss research. Twenty-five percent of the grade will be comprised by the research paper.” “Different criteria will be employed. The campaign project and presentation portion of the course grade will be accounted for by the honors component. Question Omitted. Strong Contracts v. Weak Contracts Handouts of Strong Contracts. Strong (not necessarily ideal or perfect!) Assessment “Grading on a Curve” – Impact on Honors Students and Honors Courses Value of Rubrics to Student and Faculty: Clear Communication (a WOW Column) QUESTIONS?