ACM-Teagle Collegium on Student Learning

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tree illustrationACM formed the Collegium on Student Learning in 2008 with the generous support of a $150,000 grant provided by the Teagle Foundation.

Fifteen faculty members from across the disciplines and representing 12 ACM colleges participated in the ACM-Teagle Collegium.

The two-year project sought to deepen faculty members’ understanding of how students learn, and more specifically, of how students acquire the skills and knowledge that are the hallmarks of a liberal education: critical thinking and analysis, integration across disciplines, reflection about the goals of education, and development of expertise through focused research with faculty. Recent research on metacognition served as a focal point for the Collegium.

The grant-funded activities of the Collegium project wrapped up with a conference on “Understanding Student Learning” in fall 2010 at Macalester College.

The work of the Collegium did not end at that time, though, as members of the group continued their individual and collaborative projects on metacognition, have remained in contact with each other, and have disseminated the results of the project at national conferences.

Disseminating the results and continuing the work

ISSOTL Conference presentations

Collegium participants presented two sessions at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning conference in Milwaukee in October 2011.

  • Rachel Ragland (Lake Forest College), David Schodt (St. Olaf College), John Ottenhoff (ACM), and Dan Bernstein (U. of Kansas) presented on the Collegium as a faculty development project.
  • Diane Angell (St. Olaf College), Kristin Bonnie (Beloit College), Kent McWilliams (St. Olaf College), Rachel Ragland (Lake Forest College), Steve Singleton (Coe College), and David Thompson (Luther College)  gave presentions on their metacognitive projects.

Read more about the ISSOTL Conference presentations.

Collegium panel presentation at AAC&U

With an overflow crowd on hand, members of the Collegium presented a panel on “Metacognition in Liberal Education: A Report on Student Learning” at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and University (AAC&U) in January 2011 in San Franciso.

Each of the four faculty presenters talked about strategies and practical exercises they’ve used in their courses. The exercises are designed to help students understand how they learn, and then to use that understanding to gauge their progress in a course, make adjustments so they study more effectively, and ultimately improve their grasp of the course material.

The participants in the panel were:

  • Kristin Bonnie, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Beloit College;
  • John Ottenhoff, Vice President of ACM;
  • Holly Swyers, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Lake Forest College;
  • David Thompson, Associate Professor of Spanish, Luther College; and
  • Karl Wirth Associate Professor of Geology, Macalester College.

Read more about the presentation at the AAC&U meeting in Inside Higher Ed and on the ACM website.

Metacognition on the Teagle Liblog

In November 2009 posts to the Liblog, the Teagle Foundation’s liberal arts blog, three members of the ACM community provided an inside look at some of the exciting developments that are coming out of the work of the Collegium and on ACM campuses.

  • “The evidence is mounting that teaching students how to think about their thinking can transform our teaching and student learning,” according to Karl Wirth, Associate Professor of Geology at Macalester College. In his post, Toward a Metacurriculum on Metacognition, Wirth outlines some of the ways he has designed more metacognition into his courses.
  • Consortial collaboration has led to a powerful way of building community for new students at Lake Forest College, writes Rachel Ragland in Metacognition in First Year Studies. An Assistant Professor of Education, Ragland describes how the ACM-Teagle Collegium’s work on metacognition is being directly applied on her campus, and is getting a thumbs up from students.
  • In Working Together, ACM Vice President John Ottenhoff reflects on the hard work – as well as the need for “play” time – that goes into successful collaborations, and the payoffs that make it worthwhile.

Phases of the Collegium Project

The Collegium project had four phases:

Fall 2008 Opening Conference

The project opened with a broad discussion in a two-day conference focused on recent developments in research about learning, heldNovember 21-23, 2008 at Monmouth College, with participation from across the ACM. In this expansive first step, ACM assembled four groups:

  • An advanced scholar/expert in the field to provide a strong overview of recent research.
  • ACM faculty doing significant research in cognitive science, psychology, and education about how students learn.
  • ACM directors of Learning and Teaching Centers.
  • Interested faculty from a variety of disciplines at ACM colleges.

Forming the Collegium group

Through the Fall 2008 Conference and a follow-up process with ACM deans, individuals were identified to form the ACM Collegium Group. The members of the Collegium Group committed themselves to reading and discussing the literature about learning in greater depth and to thinking about its application to the liberal arts college classroom. This process began upon formation of the group with a series of reading assignments. A two-day seminar in Spring 2009 brought the Collegium Group together to work intensively with each other and with several of the experts from ACM and other colleges and universities studying the research and starting to develop specific, researchable questions about pedagogy and classroom practice.

Spring and Summer 2009 Workshops

  • March 27-28, 2009 at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN
  • July 23-24, 2009 in Chicago, IL

The ACM Collegium Group participating in the spring workshop at Macalester College began to design plans for classroom research projects that apply the research on learning and evaluate the results. These faculty members fully developed their plans in a summer workshop in Chicago with help from ACM Teaching and Learning experts and conducted the research during the 2009-10 academic year.

Following the model of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, the ACM Collegium participants worked together, in smaller subject or regional teams, to provide mutual support and feedback for the ongoing projects. Since the successful completion of these classroom projects has been central to the Collegium project, the budget for these activities has been flexible and ample. We realized that our Collegium faculty would need considerable support, such as further consultation with experts in the current research or with research design experts; classroom visits by colleagues; additional research materials; or small-group meetings to critique the developing projects. Members of the Collegium Group have received travel support for spring and summer workshops and an honorarium of $1,500 upon completion of their research.

Fall 2010 Closing Conference

A second conference in Fall 2010, “Understanding Student Learning” brought this project full circle — and, ideally, initiate a new cycle of activity. This meeting focused on the projects carried out in the classrooms of ACM faculty scholars during the 2009-10 academic year and on case studies and learning modules that provided examples of good teaching practices based on the research. The results of these projects were shared, discussed, and will possibly published, and should provide evidence of strategies and assessment formulas that could be further extended and tested. Once again, ACM experts and some colleagues from other colleges and research universities offered their insights. Ideally, another cycle of research questions and projects to emerge from this second conference.

For more information about the ACM-Teagle Collegium on Student Learning, contact the ACM office (312-263-5000).

Fall 2008 Collegium Conference

November 21-23, 2008
Monmouth College

Overview of the conference

The weekend conference, from Friday evening to Sunday noon, moved from a broad overview of the research on how students learn to more practical applications on how this research informs teaching at liberal arts institutions. Throughout the conference, campus colleagues had opportunities to work together.

Friday, November 21

The Collegium Conference began Friday evening with a keynote address by Patricia M. King, Professor of Higher Education at the University of Michigan. Professor King’s keynote offered a broad overview of new cognitive research on learning and the brain, with particular focus on metacognition.

Dr. King’s teaching and research focus on the learning and development of late adolescents and adults, especially college students. She is interested in approaches to student development that explore the intersections among developmental domains, such as intellectual, identity and social development, and how these affect a range of collegiate outcomes, such as intercultural maturity, citizenship, and character development. Her current work focuses on liberal arts education and the kinds of educational experiences that lead to self- authorship; this project, the National Study of Liberal Arts Education, is sponsored by the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College. She has co-authored two books, Developing Reflective Judgment (with Karen Strohm Kitchener) and Learning Partnerships: Theory and Models of Practice to Educate for Self-Authorship (with Marcia Baxter Magolda). She served as the founding editor of the national magazine, About Campus: Enriching the Student Learning Experience.

Saturday and Sunday, November 22-23

Saturday sessions featured more detailed considerations of metacognition, including issues of novice/expert learners, self-reflection, conscious control of learning, analyzing the effectiveness of learning strategies, identifying preconceptions and misconceptions, and transfer of knowledge issues.

The conference focused on practical application of the research to teaching:

  • What difference does this research make for the ways we teach?
  • What do we want to know about what our students know and how they are learning, especially as it relates to the metacognitive practices we are considering?
  • How do we move from the research to classroom assignments?
  • How do we know if our teaching practices are making a difference?

The conference concluded with a Sunday morning workshop session aimed at developing concrete next steps in this multiple-year project.


Fall 2010 Collegium Conference

“Understanding Student Learning”

A Conference Highlighting the ACM-Teagle Collegium on Student Learning and Other ACM Faculty Inquiries into Learning

October 1-3, 2010 at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN

With generous support from the Teagle Foundation, the ACM Collegium on Student Learning has sought over the past two years to deepen faculty members’ understanding of how students learn, and, more specifically, how recent research on metacognition — learners’ abilities to predict their performance, to monitor their learning, to reflect on progress, and to make adjustments to achieve their goals — might help to strengthen classroom practices.

The Collegium project has involved 15 faculty from 12 ACM colleges working on classroom projects that test out various metacognitive strategies for improving student learning. The “Understanding Student Learning” conference highlighted the findings of these faculty members and, we hope, will continue to generate broader conversation about how recent findings in cognitive science help us improve teaching and learning in our colleges.

Conference Agenda and Research Projects

Understanding Student Learning

ACM-Teagle Collegium Closing Conference
October 1-3, 2010 at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN

Friday, October 1

6:00-7:30 pm:   Reception and dinner, Olin/Rice, Smail Gallery

7:30-9:00 pm:   Opening Introductions

  • John Ottenhoff (ACM) on the goals, scope, and achievements of the ACM-Teagle Collegium Project.
  • Rachel Ragland (Lake Forest College) on the goals, value, and achievements of collaboration across campuses as carried out in this project.
  • Kathy Takayama (Brown University) on the value and challenges of doing work in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Saturday, October 2

Breakfast at hotel

9:00-10:30 am:  Panel 1: Concurrent Sessions

  • Opening, Leonard Center, Hall of Fame Room
  • Breakout Groups:  a. Leonard Center, Hall of Fame Room; b. Old Main 4th Floor Lounge

The concurrent sessions will follow this format: 15-minute presentation of Collegium work; 15-minute discussion; 15-minute presentation; 15-minute discussion; 10-minute response; 20-minute discussion.

Click on a research project title to download a summary of the project (PDF format).

  • Group 1a: Respondent: David Reichard (California State University-Monterey Bay); Chair:Rachel Ragland (Lake Forest College)

David Thompson (Spanish; Luther College): Metacognitive Self-Regulation and Comprehensive Testing in Intermediate Spanish
Key Questions: Do students who are subject to comprehensive testing in Intermediate Spanish employ self-monitoring practices more frequently or to greater effect than students who are not subject to comprehensive testing? Which self-monitoring practices are employed by students who perform successfully in Intermediate Spanish when comprehensive testing is implemented?

Clara Hardy (Latin; Carleton College): Metacognitive Awareness in Learning Latin
Key Questions: Will  beginning-level Latin students benefit from more explicit attention to possible learning strategies? Will encouraging metacognitive awareness and self-monitoring result in enhanced language learning?

  • Group 1b: Respondent: Sarah Bunnell (University of Kansas); Chair: David Schodt (St. Olaf College)

Kristin Bonnie (Psychology; Beloit College): Introductory Psychology & Metacognitive Strategies
Key Questions: Can metacognitive tools and measures aid introductory psychology students (first year students in particular) in the navigation, organization and mastery of course materials? Can responses to/choice of exam questions be used as a measure of metacognition? How does this measure compare to other standard measures, including knowledge surveys and exam wrappers?

Tricia Waters (Psychology; Colorado College): Reflective Judgment
Key Questions: What is relationship between academic performance and reflective judgment in First Year and upper division courses? Does reflective judgment improve during the first two months of college?

10:30-10:45 am: Break, Leonard Center, Hall of Fame Room

10:45 am-12:15 pm:  Panel 2: Concurrent Sessions

  • Group 2a: Respondent: Kathy Takayama (Brown University); Chair: Karl Wirth (Macalester College)

Tim Tibbets (Biology; Monmouth College): Reading Reflection & Knowledge Surveys in Biology
Key Questions: Will a suite of changes (reading reflection assignments submitted to Moodle prior to class periods, a supplemental instruction program, and knowledge surveys) improve student learning, as measured by exam scores and overall grades? Will exam wrapper assignments differentially affect student final grades compared to a control section that will not receive the exam wrapper assignments?

Diane Angell (Biology; St. Olaf College): Metacognitive Assignments in Biology Bridge Courses
Key Question: Will metacognitively enriched assignments conducted alongside a month-long biology summer bridge class for incoming Student Support Service students improve grades in the course?

  • Group 2b: Respondent: Sarah Bunnell (University of Kansas); Chair: Rachel Ragland (Lake Forest College)

Joy Jordan (Statistics; Lawrence University): Teaching Sampling Distribution
Key Question: Can a group-work activity that engages students’ metacognition improve students’ understanding (based on test performance) about the sampling distribution of a sample average?

Kent McWilliams (Music; St. Olaf College): Metacognition and Piano Playing: “How Do I Learn This Piece?”
Key Question: Through reflective responses to their own piano playing, can students learn to pose useful questions that can be applied to improving their musical abilities?

12:15-1:15 pm:   Lunch, Leonard Center, Hall of Fame Room

1:15-2:45 pm:   Panel 3: Concurrent Sessions

  • Group 3a: Respondent: David Reichard (California State University-Monterey Bay); Chair:David Schodt (St. Olaf College)

Tony deLaubenfels (Computer Science; Cornell College): Tweeting Metacognition
Key Question:
 Are daily metacognitive tweets from students an effective activity to promote self-overall enhanced learning processes for students beginning college?

Susan Fox (Computer Science; Macalester College): Reflecting on Problem-Solving and Design to Improve Performance in Intro Computer Science
Key Question:
 Does engaging students in reflective activities based on both course knowledge and explicit discussion of problem-solving processes lead students to (1) perform better in class overall, (2) demonstrate improved problem-solving skills, and (3) express greater confidence in their abilities in computer science?

  • Group 3b: Respondent: Sarah Bunnell (University of Kansas); Chair: Paul Kuerbis (Colorado College)

Holly Swyers (Anthropology; Lake Forest College): The “Pod” Project
Key Question: Can a shared pedagogical strategy and the creation of a “community of purpose” help new undergraduates connect more consciously and meaningfully to the liberal arts experience?

2:45-3:00 pm:   Break, Leonard Center, Hall of Fame Room

3:00-4:30 pm:  Panel 4, Leonard Center, Hall of Fame Room

Respondent: Kathy Takayama (Brown University); Chair: Paul Kuerbis (Colorado College)

Karl Wirth (Geology; Macalester College): Better Learning Through Better Reading and Reflecting
Key Question: What is the efficacy of reading reflections for helping students improve their metacognitive knowledge and skills, metacomprehension accuracy, and mastery of disciplinary content?

Steve Singleton (Chemistry; Coe College): An Integrated Lecture-Laboratory Learning Environment
Key Question: Will a pedagogy based upon an integrated lecture-laboratory learning environment (studio) improve students’ self-efficacy and knowledge retention in an introductory chemistry course?

4:45-5:30 pm:   Concluding session, Leonard Center, Hall of Fame Room

Respondents Sarah Bunnell (University of Kansas), David Reichard (California State University-Monterey Bay), and Kathy Takayama (Brown University) on the themes heard through the day; reports from the concurrent sessions; work that has been accomplished and work that can still be done.

Dinner: on your own (we’ll provide a list of possibilities and encourage groups to form)

Sunday, October 3

Breakfast at hotel

For the day: Weyerhauser Hall, Weyerhauser Board Room and Lounge; Breakout Groups in Campus Center 204, 205, 206, 214, 215

9:00-9:45 am:   Campus teams meet

The Campus Center rooms listed above can be used by campus teams and space can be found throughout the common areas of Weyerhauser and Campus Center. If the weather is nice, teams can also meet in outdoor areas.

  • Key question: How can the work of the Collegium Group be translated into actions on our campus — new courses and course elements, new SOTL projects, new faculty development initiatives?
  • Key products: A one-page statement for sharing with the larger group about framing questions for further campus discussions, ideas about follow-up activities, plans for next steps.

9:45-10:30 am:   Campus pairs

Beloit College, Lake Forest College, and Lawrence University, Campus Center 206
Carleton College and St. Olaf College, Campus Center 215
Coe College and Cornell College, Campus Center 204
Colorado College and Luther College, Campus Center 205
Grinnell College and Macalester College, Weyerhauser Board Room
Knox College and Monmouth College, Campus Center 214

  • Key questions: what can we learn from the plans of other institutions? Are there possibilities for further collaboration with our institutions?

The respondents and facilitators will be available for consultation with campus teams in the first two morning sessions.

10:45 am-12:00 pm:  Final Session, Weyerhauser Board Room

  • Respondents: Sarah Bunnell  (University of Kansas), David Reichard (California State University-Monterey Bay), and Kathy Takayama (Brown University)
  • Facilitators: Paul Kuerbis (Colorado College), John Ottenhoff (ACM), Rachel Ragland (Lake Forest College), David Schodt (St. Olaf College), Karl Wirth (Macalester College)
  • Key questions: What have we learned about teaching and learning, about metacognition, about doing work in the scholarship of teaching and learning? What’s next for the group and for this project?

12:00 pm:  Boxed lunches available

Conference Participants

ACM-Teagle Collegium Closing Conference – “Understanding Student Learning”

October 1-3, 2010 at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN

* Denotes Collegium Group members

Beloit College

*Kristin Bonnie, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Carla Davis, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Kathy Greene, Associate Professor of Education and Youth Studies

Carleton College

Peter Balaam, Associate Professor of English
Cherry Danielson, Associate Director IRA
Nathan Grawe, Associate Dean of the College
*Clara Hardy, Professor of Classics

Coe College

Terry McNabb, Associate Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Teacher Education
Rachel Neal, Assistant Professor of Sociology
*Steve Singleton, Associate Professor of Chemistry

Colorado College

Andrea Bruder, Professor of Mathematics
Pedro de Araujo, Assistant Professor of Economics
Paul Kuerbis, Professor, and Director of the Crown Faculty Center
*Tricia Waters, Associate Professor of Psychology

Cornell College

*Tony deLaubenfels, Professor of Computer Science
Shawn Doyle, Writing Consultant

Grinnell College

Joe Neisser, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Daniel Shore, Professor of English

Knox College

Laura Bush, Academic Coordinator, Center for Teaching and Learning
Ryan Fowler, Assistant Professor of Classics
Amy Singer, Assistant Professor of Sociology

Lake Forest College

Amanda Felkey, Department of Education & Business
Richard Pettengill, Associate Professor of Theater
Rachel Ragland, Associate Professor of Education
*Holly Swyers, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Lawrence University

*Joy Jordan, Associate Professor of Statistics
Gretchen Revie, Reference & Instruction Librarian
Nancy Wall, Associate Professor of Biology

Luther College

Rebecca Sullivan, Assistant Professor, Instructional Technology Librarian
*David Thompson, Associate Professor of Spanish
Stephanie Travers, Professor of Psychology

Macalester College

Nancy Bostrom, Campus Assessment Facilitator
Kendrick Brown, Associate Dean of the Faculty
Adrienne Christiansen, Associate Professor of Political Science & Director of the Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching
Neil Chudgar, Assistant Professor, English
*Susan E. Fox, Professor of Computer Science
Rebecca Hoye, Associate Professor of Chemistry
Melanie Huska, Doctoral Student
Antoine Mefleh, Instructor of Arabic
Alicia Muñoz, Professor of Hispanic and Latin American Studies
Paul Overvoorde, Professor of Biology & Associate Director of the Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching
Wang Ping, Associate Professor of English
Georgiana Podulke, Visiting Assistant Professor, Art and Art History
Julie Rogers, Associate Professor, Department of French
Jack Rossmann, Professor of Psychology (Emeritus)
Aeleah Soine, Visiting Assistant Professor of History
Eric P. Wiertelak, Professor of Psychology/Neuroscience
*Karl Wirth, Associate Professor of Geology; Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching

Monmouth College

Erika Buhring, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies
Rob Hale, Professor of English
Diana Ruggiero, Professor of Modern Foreign Languages
Wendine Thompson-Dawson, Professor of Economics
*Tim Tibbetts, Assistant Professor of Biology
Craig Vivian, Educational Studies

St. Olaf College

*Diane K. Angell, Assistant Professor of Biology
Heather Campbell, Education Professor
Devyani Chandran, Assistant Professor of Social Work and Family Studies
Eric McDonald, Instructor, Education and Biology
*Kent McWilliams, Associate Professor of Music
David Schodt, Director, Center for Innovation in the Liberal Arts
Mary Walczak, Professor of Chemistry
Katy Ziegler-Graham, Assistant Professor of Statistics


Sarah Bunnell, Program Assistant, Center for Teaching Excellence, University of Kansas
David A. Reichard, Associate Professor of History and Legal Studies, California State University Monterey Bay
Kathy Takayama, Director, Sheridan Center for Teaching & Learning, Brown University

ACM Consortial Staff

Sally Noble, Program Officer
John Ottenhoff, Vice President
Mary Scott-Boria, Director, Urban Studies Program
Christopher Welna, President

Collegium Group members

The members of the ACM-Teagle Collegium Group have committed themselves to reading and discussing the literature about learning in greater depth and to thinking about its application to the liberal arts college classroom.

  • Kristin Bonnie, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Beloit College
  • Clara Hardy, Professor of Classical Languages, Carleton College
  • Steve Singleton, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Coe College
  • Tricia Waters, Associate Professor of Psychology, Colorado College
  • Tony de Laubenfels, Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics, Cornell College
  • Holly Swyers, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Lake Forest College
  • Joy Jordan, Associate Professor of Statistics, Lawrence University
  • David Thompson, Associate Professor of Spanish, Luther College
  • Susan Fox, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, Macalester College
  • Karl Wirth, Associate Professor of Geology, Macalester College
  • Tim Tibbetts, Biology, Monmouth College
  • Emily Stovel, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Ripon College
  • Diane Angell, Assistant Professor of Biology, St. Olaf College
  • Maria Kelly, Teacher in Residence in Education, St. Olaf College
  • Kent McWilliams, Associate Professor of Music, St. Olaf College


Collegium Group facilitators

  • Paul Kuerbis, Chair and Professor of Education and Director of the Crown Faculty Center and Colket Student Learning Center, Colorado College
  • Rachel Ragland, Assistant Professor of Education, Lake Forest College
  • David Schodt, Professor of Economics and Director, Center for Innovation in the Liberal Arts, St. Olaf College
  • John Ottenhoff, Vice President, Associated Colleges of the Midwest
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