Inside AU Events—Learning Café

Engaging the Student Experience with Creativity

At times, it can be difficult to find a sense of community in the AU digital sphere.  However, there are a great deal of events occurring on a consistent basis.  These range from style guide tips for assignments to research tips and tricks.

This Voice Magazine writer recently had a chance to attend a session focused on creativity and the student experience.

Learning Café: Engaging the Student Experience with Creativity took place on February 27, 2024 from 1:00 to 2:45 MT.

A total of 14 attendees attended this session, hosted by Dr.  Melody Buckner, the Associate Vice Provost of Digital Learning and Online Initiatives in the University Center for Assessment, Teaching, and Technology (UCATT) at the University of Arizona.

In contrast to previous AU student-centric events, this meeting was geared toward faculty and staff.  In particular, the session urged participants to “discuss how to build an engaging student experience by offering a creative final assignment for students to demonstrate their learning, then add an opportunity for open pedagogy by sharing and publishing their work.”

Open Pedagogy and Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Following a brief introduction by Dr.  Buckner, the meeting began with a focus on open pedagogy and open education resources (OERs).  In particular, OERs were defined as “engaging with students as creators of education, as opposed to consumers.”

Using Creativity in the Learning Process

One of the main focuses of the session was using creativity in the classroom to enhance the learning experience, with discussion centering on various topics, including various types of resources and textbooks.  The discussion also centered on how to improve the exam experience, with discussion on the need for alternative assessments.

Challenges for Peer Reviews

The session also focused on challenges faced during peer reviews, especially when offering critiques.  Dr.  Buckner suggested using, what was termed, the “love sandwich” during the peer review process.  This refers to beginning with a positive statement about the work, followed by constructive criticism, before finishing with another positive statement at the end of the review.

The Future of Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Another major topic of discussion focused on artificial intelligence (AI).  In particular, main points of discussion included challenges and opportunities when using AI, including how AI will impact the classroom and how to prepare students to use AI in the academic world.  One take way from this discussion was that students should be taught to use AI responsibly and ethically, because while AI may not necessarily eliminate many jobs in the future, AI will be a required skill set during hiring processes.

Additional Topics of Discussion

In addition, Dr.  Buckner also led participants in a discussion on the need for students to learn various types of skills that will be crucial post-graduation.  These include improving writing skills, especially formal communication, such as email, preparing for interviews via Zoom, as well as the importance of understanding digital footprints during job hiring processes.

Future Events

A list of future AU events can be found on AU’s The Hub.