Tranformative Teaching and Learning Faculty Initatives Pilot Program

Three students at a white board

The Institute Strategic Plan calls us to “Amplify Impact” by providing…

…all students with transformative learning experiences to grow as creative, ethical, globally aware, technologically sophisticated leaders who can define and solve problems to improve the human condition.

The 15 faculty engaged in the pilot round of the Transformative Teaching and Learning (TTL) initiative worked to do just that. Led by CTL’s Dr. Kate Williams, the Interim Director of Transformative Teaching and Learning, these faculty revised 11 courses across the Institute to integrate experiential learning into mostly traditional course structures.

Their efforts began in summer 2023 at the TTL faculty initiative kick-off where a group of about 35 faculty gathered to learn more about this strategic initiative. The group brainstormed the characteristics that identify Georgia Tech students who have engaged in transformative learning. Next, they explored theories of significant and experiential learning that can be leveraged to create transformative experiences. While High Impact Practices (HIPs) have dominated the education literature for several decades, the recent emergence of the 8 key elements that make HIPs effective for student learning creates a pathway for innovations in classroom teaching.

The first round of TTL Fellows were selected from 18 applications for the TTL Innovation Incubator grants. These grantees received funds to support the development, implementation and evaluation of their transformative teaching project as well as program support through virtual incubator meetings to assist with their course design work. The incubator continued in fall 2023 to create space for faculty to fine-tune their projects and reflect on student impact. Altogether, 855 students were exposed to experiential learning through the initial pilot round.

Fall 2023 TTL Fellows projects

The value of this program to student learning is captured in a comment by TTL Fellow Rod Borela Valente, whose students learned the programming language Python and then applied their new skills by programming household robot vacuums. Borela Valente observed “by watching the students struggle through their lab assignments with the robots, we realized that our pre-TTL course design wasn’t meeting this outcome to the extent we wanted.”  A student in the class, first-year computational media major Emma Bednarowski, said she feels more comfortable possibly taking another class like this. Other students in the class reported that programming the robots helped them to better grasp the material and boosted their confidence. (See the College of Computing media page for the full story.)

As the pilot round of the TTL grant concludes, details about each project’s goals, activities, and results will be gathered and deseminated to the Georgia Tech faculty through the CTL website. The second round of TTL Innovation Incubator grants launched in January 2024.


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