News from the FIC

The "Phebe Martin" Archival Project and the College Experience

Jan. 26, 2018

In the past few years we’ve used the term “college experience” with increasing frequency, this to distinguish it from high school, work, on line, vacation or other “experience.” We value it. We promote it. Yet in reading casually I haven’t really nailed down its meaning.  This leaves me to develop a definition that fits my own teaching practice. Specifically, I’ve been experimenting with setting stages for students to “do” history.

Meeting Student Needs Amid Opposing Technology Bans

Dec. 19, 2017

A recent New York Times opinion piece explaining the author’s decision to ban laptops in her class has generated many rebuttals centering mainly on two issues. First, and in my view by far the most important, students with learning issues may need laptops, and a ban unfairly stigmatizes these students. Second, a ban requires students to ask permission to do something that ought to be the student’s decision.

Making Space for a Winning Team in Teaching and Learning Centers

Dec. 4, 2017

With a hat tip and hearty congratulations to Astros Nation, let me be clear that I am a lifelong Dodgers fan. On a recent autumn morning in Montreal, I found the hallowed ground I was looking for: the former home of the minor league Royals. Jackie Robinson spent the 1946 season in Montreal prior to breaking the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers the following year. The stadium is long gone, but the city preserved this chapter in history by creating a baseball-themed memorial.

Mining the Past, Minding the Present: Learning on Site

Nov. 17, 2017

The School or Architecture at UT-Austin has engaged in an initiative that fosters relationships and learning experiences with Mexico and Latin-America. Faculty interest in this area of the world has become more robust in recent years.  I was fortunate to join this effort in the fall of 2013 when I became part of the faculty at UTSoA. Mexico is an area of focus for my research, and I have been eager to share the opportunities that Mexico can offer to broaden the vision of our students about global issues of heritage preservation and conservation of historic buildings.

Internships and Academics: Discovering How My Passions Can Shape My Life

Oct. 20, 2017

My first internship was at the Texas Capitol in the Spring of my freshman year. At the time, my major was economics, and I wanted to dive into the fields that were congruent with what I was studying: government and finance. I had always been interested in politics, and this seemed like a good place to start. Initially I was assigned administrative work—typical intern tasks—but that work allowed me to slowly prove myself to the Senator and earn the independence to engage in important research and bill-related work.

Move Fast and Break Things: What I Learned in Chemistry Prepared Me for Facebook

Oct. 13, 2017

What is a Chemistry major doing at a Global Tech company? Trying to answer this question has made me wonder about the unique value proposition of my UT Chemistry degree. My lack of tech experience intimidated me at first, but it forced me to look internally: “What has my UT education and undergrad experiences provided me to prepare me for this opportunity? What am I uniquely qualified to do at this company?”

"And that's how the light gets in:" Memory and Learning with Peter C. Brown

Sept. 22, 2017

The FIC recently had a chance to record a conversation we had with writer and novelist Peter C. Brown. His latest book, Make It Stick, was co-written with two prominent cognitive psychologists, one of whom was Brown's brother-in-law.

Redesigning Complex Courses in Pharmacy

Sept. 8, 2017

As part of their curriculum redesign effort, the College of Pharmacy is confronting several 6-hour “monster courses.” Until now, the courses have been chunked by topic and taught by groups of expert faculty--a challenge to coordinate--and students who fail a single unit must retake the entire course. Separating these 6-credit beasts into a series of shorter courses, as short as 3 weeks and worth as little as 1 credit, will allow students to more efficiently receive credit specifically for what they've mastered. 

School of Journalism Investigates Student Perspectives

July 21, 2017

Faculty understand the challenge: the field of journalism is changing rapidly, and students who choose journalism degrees need a much wider range of continuously evolving skills. Creating a “Vision” document, with the help of the FIC in Fall 2016, prompted them to articulate those pain points clearly.

"Changing Education" Colloquium Explores New Directions in Teaching

March 30, 2017

On March 30, 2017, UT held the Changing Education Symposium [#UTChangingEd] to explore new approaches to redesigning undergraduate education and to better meet the needs of a digital, mobile, and continually evolving society. The format included keynote presentations punctuated by short talks and plenty of time for discussions in breakout sessions. The organizing themes were intended to connect high-level concepts and developments with institutional decisions and instructional practice: