Looking Forward – jmUDESIGN 2013

by: Cara Meixner

From time to time, we rearrange and redesign our homes – applying fresh paint, shuffling our furniture, or collecting novel accouterments. While such changes take time, the outcomes often justify the means. Ultimately, we feel better about our dwelling spaces, however small or large-scale the change may have been.

We can apply a similar practice to the courses we teach, recalibrating our objectives and applying changes – slight or sweeping – that bring students’ learning to life and reengage our own passions for teaching. Just as it may prove essential to have a designer or contractor on hand to guide us through the messy, chaotic phases of home redesign, it is likewise helpful to engage in a guided redesign of one’s course or curriculum. That’s why jmUDESIGN exists.

Held from June 10-14, jmUDESIGN is a 5-day institute that provides part- and full-time instructional faculty with the skills, knowledge and support necessary to foster a learning environment within which all facets of the course – lesson plans, assignments, assessment structures, pedagogies and learning activities – map to significant learning outcomes. In small teams guided by JMU faculty schooled in the tents of redesign, participants develop innovative blueprints, ultimately laying new foundations and building new facets of their courses. For some participants, jmUDESIGN constitutes an opportunity to fundamentally flip their courses. Others revel in the chance provided to network with other professors, applying and sharing new skills in a supportive, innovative and nonjudgmental environment.

Applications for the jmUDESIGN 2013 Summer Institute will be available on March 1 and are due by March 18, 2013.

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