2007 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., April 24, 2007
HUB West Ballroom

Session Description


Documentation Creates Space to Reflect upon Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Tom Drummond (Early Childhood Education), Kalyn Shea Owens (Chemistry), & Jim Harnish (Professor Emeritus) - North Seattle Community College


We are trying to understand what is happening in the actual process or activities of “learning”. We examine the meaning of complex events, how we think about what we want to emerge for learners, and what we, as participants in education, share as values.

Our students are Community College students, which range from 16-17 year old Running Start students, to traditional age college students, to 30-50+ year old returning students, some with BA degrees, in the first year General Chemistry sequence.

We video tape and then "capture" a group of students engaged in representing an understanding in Chemistry and explore what we see, the students see, Chemistry program faculty see, other faculty see, and institutional assessment leaders see. We make the reciprocity of meaning-making visible. Like the students working on a chemistry concept, we construct pedagogical practices and judgments in relation with others, based on values that are chosen, shared and constructed together. Documentation enables us to live in a permanent state of research that evolves practices over time.

Some of the things we have learned include

  • Documentation of a learning group allows its participants to engage in meta-cognitive dialogues with others to better understand risk, interdependence, and not-knowing; they become transformed, highly-motivated learners.

  • Documentation provides a unique opportunity for faculty to reflect upon the common effort; it deepens the discussion of what is learning, what is effective pedagogy and what could check on concepts that are developed over a series of courses.

  • Documentation enables faculty in other disciplines to reflect upon what is learning, how people learn and how educators think about classroom practices and intentions.

  • Institutional assessment leaders come to see how documentation of a learning episode enables faculty in the classroom, faculty groups at a program level, and institutional leaders could evolve shared values and intentions toward an aesthetic of educational experience.



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