IUPUI professor champions active, collaborative learning

Original article is by Ceci Jones and is available at the IUPUI Newsroom.

Andy Buchenot

Andy Buchenot remembers the “Aha!” moment when he realized that top-down instruction to students is not the way he wants to teach. He was in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, working on a doctorate in rhetoric and composition.

“I had been studying collaborative teaching strategies for years, but — faced with putting them into practice in front of a seasoned pro — I froze up,” Buchenot said. He arranged the students into rows, stood at the front of the classroom, and taught from behind a podium. “It was awful. The review I got was … unflattering,” he remembered with a grimace.

He swiftly changed his approach. Ever since, Buchenot has worked to teach in a way that allows his students to show what they can do. Now an English professor in the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Liberal Arts, he teaches scores of students every semester.

Active, collaborative learning has played a huge role in Buchenot’s teaching methods since his grad school days, especially now that he is a Mosaic faculty fellow. That fellowship program is a key part of IU’s Mosaic Active Learning Initiative, launched in 2015. It brings together faculty who, over the course of an academic year, teach in Mosaic classrooms, share approaches to active and collaborative learning, engage in research related to active-learning classrooms, and contribute to the development of learning spaces across IU.

 

 

Buchenot especially enjoys being part of a community of fellows, sharing ideas and perspectives on active learning. He’s made connections with colleagues outside of the English department. These relationships have broadened his perspective and made him a more thoughtful teacher.

“Mosaic is an example of Indiana University at its best,” he said. “It’s a forward-looking, progressive initiative that makes me proud to be part of this university.”

Kate Harris