The scholar-practitioner model is an advanced educational and operational approach that emphasizes the practical application of scholarly knowledge and information. Scholarly practice is based on theory and research in addition to experimental knowledge. It is fueled by personal values, dedication, and ethical conduct. Research asserts that scholarly practice focuses on the problem-solving approach. Indeed, a scholar-practitioner recognizes problems, in-depth examine the issue and invest in searching for a productive solution. Essentially, scholar-practitioners are involved in bridging the gap between academia and real-world situation through incorporating scholarly research with practical applications in efforts of solving problems in their profession. Therefore, the scholar-practitioner model is crucial since it uses theory and experimental knowledge to solve problems in the education setting by utilizing the theory to design the most appropriate solution to the problem. Considering the importance of education in the development of society, it is deductible that the scholar-practitioner model is particularly applicable.
The Background of the Organization (Indiana University)
Indiana University is expected to celebrate its bicentennial in 2020. Indiana University a public research institution of higher learning with more than forty thousand enrolled students in its most extensive and original campus. Indiana’s State government in Corydon established Indiana University in 1820 merely as the State Seminary. The construction began in 1822, and in 1825 the university enrolled its first students. The first students in the school were only ten in number, and all of them were male. Baynard Rush was employed as the University’s first professor. It took less than two decades for the institution to develop from a small state seminary to a college, “Indiana College” to a university in 1838.
Over the past two centuries, Indiana has expanded in both academic and extra-curriculum activities. Currently, the university is a public ivy university and often appears among the top hundred universities in the US. Indeed, the university has numerous schools and programs from Music, informatics, computing, engineering, business, public health, law, education, nursing, optometry, media, and public and environmental affairs. The university is renowned for a diverse student life system with more than 700 student organizations. The university’s faculty, staff, and alumni encompass Rhodes scholars, Nobel laureates, MacArthur fellows and Marshall Scholars. The University has more than 1800 full-time faculty members. Some of the issues the institution has experienced over the past half a century include an increase in the number of drop-outs in the student’s taking academic sciences, keeping up with changing curricula and teaching techniques in addition to keeping pace with technology.
Primary Problem: In recent years the concept of active learning classrooms is a popular concept in many institutions of higher learning with the development of technology. Like many aspects of technology, active classes provide many educational opportunities. Undeniably, many institutions of higher education are embracing active learning classrooms since such environments promote innovative learning.
Secondary problem: However, the majority of these institutions concentrate on developing such environments without investing time and resources in activities that supplement and complement such learning environments. Institutions of higher learning fail to recognize that the mere creation of the active classrooms is not enough. It stands to reason as the learning environment is changing; educators and students should also improve. It is essential that the teaching and learning techniques accompany the changes in the classrooms.
The problem at a national level: Over the past decade, there have been evident changes in universities and colleges across the USA. These changes include but are not limited to technological advancements, whiteboards mounted across the walls, movable tables, and chairs among others. The new developments and renovated college classrooms are commonly known as active classrooms. More than 200 universities across the USA have embraced these changes, and a large number are investing in initiatives designed to achieve such a learning environment. While the concept of active classrooms is appealing not only to the students but also the educators it is vital that these learning environments are supplemented and complemented by sustained and intentional faculty developments programs.
Case Study: Indiana University’s Mosaic Initiative
Primary Problem: In efforts to keep pace with technology and associated technical aspects in the classroom such as wireless projections Indiana University developed the Mosaic project. The initiative began in 2015 having been inspired by the relative success of a similar project at Iowa University. The Program focuses on how the university might transform their more than 400 general-purpose traditional classrooms to support the idea of active learning. Indeed, the name Mosaic purposefully pinpoints to variety rather than a single configuration. The Mosaic initiative encompasses movable furniture, portable whiteboards, wireless projections among other aspects of advanced technologies.
Secondary Problem: However, in the desire to keep up with technology the Indiana University ignored the importance of accompanying the initiative with other programs that are designed to maximize the usefulness of active learning classrooms. It is important to acknowledge that impediments remain in changing the teaching and learning practice to implement the active learning environments. It is vital for the concept of the active learning environment to extend beyond the technical aspect of technology to include the different ways of teaching and learning associated with the technology.
Case Study Review
Summary of the Theory (Constructivism)
The idea that students should learn through practice, application and apprenticeship has existed for centuries and is postulated by many constructivism theories. Primarily, constructivism maintains that people learn through a continual process of building, interpreting and modifying the general presentations of their perceptions of the reality depending on individual experiences with the said reality. The three core characteristics of the constructivist view include; Firstly; the concept that knowledge is not something to be acquired but rather it is an evolving process where the student actively engages in making sense of the world. Secondly, the theory holds that individuals often conditionalize their knowledge in personal ways. Notably, the constructivist approach asserts that individuals acquire and preserve knowledge differently in forms that enable them to utilize that particular knowledge at a later date. The third major feature of constructivism is the emphasis on collaboration and social negotiation of meaning. That is, the theory postulates that learning takes place in a social context. Therefore, the constructivist view illustrates that individuals learn through a continuously active process of knowledge building that to no small extent depends on the social context.
The aspect of active learning environment to some extent embody the characteristics of the constructivist learning theory since the concept of active learning environment illustrates the idea of changing classrooms to support new teaching and learning practices that are intended to improve the students’ perception.
Active learning fundamentally describes the processes associated with students engaging in activities that coerce them to reflect upon ideas and how to effectively apply those particular ideas. Therefore, active learning to no small extent requires the learners to regularly assess their own perceptions of the degree of understanding and skill at addressing the concepts and problems in the learning process. Evidence that active learning is successful exists from different institutions and disciplines (Birdwell, Hammersmith, Roman, & Jeromoliv, 2016). Indeed, focusing on literature on the success of active learning, a study focused on student’s perceptions on the concept of active learning asserts learners enjoy learning through engaging activities. The students contended that engaging education positively influenced their learning experience (Lumpkin, Achen, & Dodd, 2015). However, it is essential to acknowledge that the idea of active learning differs from the concept of active learning environments. Active learning is more detailed since it encompasses all the processes intended to improve the teaching and learning techniques while the idea of active learning classrooms focuses on only the technical aspects (Birdwell, Hammersmith, Roman, & Jeromoliv, 2016). The Mosaic project focused on transforming classrooms, therefore, ignored the activities associated with teaching and learning processes.
Constructivism asserts that learning is an active continuous process grounded on individual perception and social context. While the Mosaic’s idea of active learning classrooms has proved beneficial to Indiana University over the past two years, adopting techniques that will also focus on student and educators innovation might go a long way to supplement and complement the initiative. Indeed, constructivism collaborates with the idea of active learning. However, active learning encompasses all innovative designs including the concept of teacher and student innovation, unlike the Mosaic Initiative that focuses on only the technical aspects of improving the learning environment. Therefore, it suffices to say that concentrating on developing the classroom is not sufficient to change the teaching and learning process of both the educators and the students in Indiana. The current action plan encompasses sustained and intention faculty and student development programs that will accompany the changes associated with the active learning classrooms initiative.
Birdwell, T., Hammersmith, L., Roman, T. A., & Jeromoliv, D. (2016). Active learning classroom observation tool: A practical tool for classroom observation and instructor reflection in active learning classrooms. Journal on Centers on Teaching and Learning, 28-50.
Lumpkin, A., Achen, R. M., & Dodd, R. K. (2015). Student perceptions of active learning. College Student Journal, 49(1), 121-133.