CPLC Season 1: Emergent Syllabus


Before we begin, you may wish to follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook. And please find us on Moodle!

Consider choosing ONE of these bullets each week. If these aren’t helpful to you, focus on something related to our CPLC core learning models, Cluster Pedagogy, or the Habits of Mind that seems most relevant to the work you are doing now and share your progress and ideas.

  • Read one of the following texts related to Cathy Davidson’s book, The New Education, and share your impressions with the CPLC.
  • This is a speech given by Vartan Gregorian (former president of Brown University and now president of the Carnegie Corporation) called “Colleges Should Reconstruct the Unity of Knowledge.” The speech was given more than a decade ago, but PSU students in “Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies” always rate this quick read very highly. Share your responses to the speech with the CPLC however you choose.
  • Consider this prompt: “Interdisciplinarity was one of the first stated characteristics of our cluster initiative. Do you feel that interdisciplinarity is an institutional value worth cultivating? Why or why not? What pitfalls and/or possibilities do you think interdisciplinary approaches to learning offer to: your students, your courses, your own research, your field, Plymouth State, the public?” Share your responses to some version of this prompt with the CPLCfeel free to reframe or change the prompt, or reflect on any other aspect of interdisciplinarity that you think is relevant to your work and PSU at this time.
  • For members of the Wicked track, look at the resources available on Moodle for our track. The generic syllabus for the course is there as well as some readings. Read some of these with your own syllabus in mind. In what ways will you incorporate some of the ideas in the readings in your section of the course? You can post thoughts in the Wicked Track discussion forum on Moodle, or anywhere else you like to share.
  • For members of the Open track, share your reflections about ATI after you attend! How do you think your experience there could be valuable to our work in the CPLC or our development of Cluster Pedagogy at PSU? You can post thoughts in the Open Track discussion forum on Moodle, or anywhere else you like to share.

Need More Basic Background to Prep for Next Session? For those who want some basics on interdisciplinarity and integrated learning, consider reviewing the Interdisciplinary Fast Blast slides. You may also appreciate these two blog posts on integration: The What and The How.

Interdisciplinarity in Context (June 4)

June 4th, 8:30am-12pm in the Hage Room.

Wicked Track will also meet from 1-4pm; lunch served for Wicked track at noon. (The session agenda for the afternoon can be found here.)

Please bring a laptop!

Remember there are no rules for participation in the CPLC beyond an expectation that you actively engage with CPLC colleagues and curriculum on a weekly basis. All suggested prompts and “assignments” can be altered to fit your interests and ideas.

  • Read one or more of these quick posts from the Buck Institute selected by your colleagues (Brandon, Elisabeth, Cathie), and reflect on A) how your understanding of PBL is evolving, or B) on what you think the challenges are for PSU in trying to develop and support more PBL-based experiences for students.
  • Read Professor Roy Stever’s blog post on a large-scale project-based learning initiative at PSU. Share a reaction to Roy’s reflection, or share reflections on a project that you’ve undertaken with students where the content was “covered” through the project (rather than covered first and then followed by a related project). What worked well and what challenges did you face?
  • Think back to your track conversation at the June 4th CPLC. What challenges and benefits do you see to interdisciplinary learning? Are any of these similar to what you might find with PBL? If you have engaged in both kinds of teaching/learning, how do you think they could enhance each other or connect together? We’d love to hear specific stories from your own experiences. (Need a refresher on what you discussed in June? Your GoogleDocs are here: MainOpenWicked.)
  • Reflect/Discuss/Write: What role, if any, should the CPLC play in setting the values of Plymouth State University? If you believe values matter to the work of the CPLC  and that the CPLC should contribute to the setting of institutional values, how do you think we should undertake this as a group? Review our Values Summary (or the raw data on Moodle) and offer your thoughts.

Need More Basic Background to Prep for Next Session? For those who want some basics on Project-Based Learning, consider reviewing the PBL Fast Blast slides.

Project-Based Learning (July 30)

July 30th, 8:30am-12pm in the Hage Room.

Wicked Track will also meet from 1-4pm; lunch served for Wicked track at noon. Session agenda is here.

Please bring a laptop!

Remember that there are no required assignments of the CPLC, but we do expect you to be engaging with each other around the ideas we are exploring. Please make sure you are sharing with each other. Here are some engagement prompts to get you started.


For those new to open pedagogy:

For those who are already familiar with open pedagogy or looking to push more critically into the framework:

For info about some emerging research that addresses how OER improves student success, especially for at-risk students:

Want to learn about what your colleagues in the Open Track are working on? · Read “Plymouth State Participates in the 2019 Academic Technology Institute

Want to read two CPLC authors (Sean Michael Morris of An Urgency of Teachers and Joshua Eyler of How Humans Learn) sparring a bit about PBL and student agency?

Reflecting (in writing/video/etc)

  • Share your reflections about one of the readings above! Or one of the books from the CPLC that you may have been reading! Or what you talked about with your group at the Unconference! Or how your own planning for Fall is being affected by our explorations of Cluster Pedagogy!
  • What ideas, reactions, or impressions come to mind when you listened to students and your colleagues talk about PBL on the panel at our last CPLC session? What potential benefits or challenges are you seeing as you think about PBL possibilities in your own courses or programs?
  • Open Track assignment: We’d like you to take a lead in the CPLC University Days session that focuses on open. Please post one artfully-designed PPT slide featuring an idea that you would like to stress or share with the CPLC; it could be about something you learned or realized or thought about at ATI; something you are working on in your project; a tool you discovered; a new frame of mind that you are adopting; a provocation; a reading; a hope you have for PSU or your program; etc. How can we best inspire your colleagues on August 15th? Share your slide in the Open Track discussion forum, and plan to take a moment to talk about your slide during the next session!
  • Wicked Track assignment: Before the next meeting, share a reflection that addresses something related to the following prompt. Note that the reflection does not need to be a written narrative. You could create an infographic, a video, a podcast, or whatever feels appropriate. Explain how you will incorporate cluster pedagogy (interdisciplinary, project-based learning, open pedagogy) into Tackling a Wicked Problem. How will you create a learning environment that allows students to practice the Habits of Mind? If this prompt doesn’t engage you, reflect in some way on your course, cluster pedagogy, and the Habits of Mind. Share your reflection in the Wicked Track discussion forum.

Engaging Together

Open Ed & A Year in Practice (August 15)

August 15th, 1-4pm in the Hage Room

The Wicked Track will meet from 4-5pm as well.

Please bring a laptop!

In preparation for November's meetings, please enjoy browsing the amazing collection of reflective pieces that you and your colleagues in the CPLC generated at the end of the summer. You should re-read your own chapter, and browse through others that are of interest to you.

After you familiarize yourself with the collection, please take two minutes to fill out this Google form. For the first part of our November session, we will be tackling some crowd-sourced discussion questions that you generate based on what you encounter in the collection and how your work in cluster learning is going so far this semester.

Scaling In the Community of Practice (November 4 & 5)

November 4, 2-4pm in the Hage Room
November 5, 8-10am in the Hage Room

Please bring a laptop!

January Jamboree

January 14, 8:00 - 4:30, Merrill Place
January 15, 8:30 -12:15, Lamson Learning Commons

Join us and the rest of PSU for this University-wide event.

  1. Read the chapter of your choice in Joshua Eyler's How Humans Learn. Choose from: "Curiosity," "Sociality," "Emotion," "Authenticity," and "Failure." Chapters are available in our Moodle course under the MAIN CPLC tab. You can also borrow the book from the CoLab's lending library, or borrow an eBook version online from Lamson.
  2. Fill out this form about your thoughts on the chapter.
  3. Attend Zine Week! Stop into the CoLab (8:30am-5pm) between January 24th & 31st. Plan to spend an hour annotating/zine-ing/decorating/crafting with the chapter of your choice from our CPLC collection. Just give us the hour-- we will help you understand the project and find a way to contribute that works for you!
  4. (Optional:) Browse the list of takeaways that you all submitted during our last CPLC event.

CPLC Spring Gala

April 24, 5-9pm Heritage Commons

This gala dinner will feature the unveiling of the CPLC collection, Cluster Learning at Plymouth State: A Community-Based Approach to Pedagogy, along with a keynote address by Joshua Eyler, the author the acclaimed new book, How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories Behind Effective College Teaching.

Image Credits: Vigan Hajdar, Oldiefan, theOtherKev from Pixabay