The OMT Teaching Roundtables are a PDW session organized around the theme of—you guessed it—Teaching.
The goals of the Teaching Roundtables are for participants to gain not only an understanding of how a course is structured (e.g., readings and assignments) and taught (e.g., method), but also further insights into why a course is structured and taught as it is, how a course was built upon a knowledge base in organization theory (or some other base), the process of developing and revising a course over time, and/or the skillsets and methods invoked to manage courses of any kind as effectively as possible.
The roundtable sessions are best thought of as small-group discussions built upon the frame of a course or teaching method. These roundtables are not best thought of as presentations, with a few moments at the end for questions.
The session consists of three 30-40 minute rounds of informal discussions. Each facilitator leads a table, introducing and discussing a course or teaching method(s) a total of 3 times with 3 different small groups of participants. Participants, based upon their interests, select Facilitators in advance and rotate according to pre-assigned tables based on these preferences.
All OMT Junior Faculty Consortium and MOC/OMT Doctoral Consortium participants are automatically enrolled in the Teaching Roundtables, and a set of additional attendees often sign up independently of the consortia. It is not unusual for us to have at least if not greater than 100 people in the room, spread across 10 or more tables.
There tend to be two general types of table discussions at the Teaching Roundtables:
Course Tables engage in a broad overview of a course. For example: For whom the course is targeted, the reasoning behind the course design, how the course links to OMT and even faculty research, the method adapted in the classroom, the major learning objectives, and a short description of major assignments, with time for questions and discussion along the way.
Method Tables engage in a broad overview of some set of teaching methods or skillets. For example: faculty might define a set of skills, describe how they incorporate this set of skills/methods into their courses, offer some examples, talk about set up and/or resources needed, address some common challenges in implementation, with time for questions and discussion along the way.
Q: How many people are at each table?
Not counting the facilitator(s), there have tended to be between five and ten participants at each table.
Q: Do I need to make a Powerpoint?
Absolutely not. This is not a formal presentation (i.e., Powerpoint), but rather an informal presentation/discussion of the makings of a course or the transference of some teaching skillset.
Q: Should I, or can I, bring handouts?
If you feel handouts will be helpful, please feel free to bring some along. We will, however, with your permission, make your syllabus or other documents available in some digital form to participants in advance of the roundtables.
Q: Can you provide an example of a course title and description?
Course Title: Wicked Problems
Course Description: Most of the world’s most vexing challenges (e.g., hunger, disease, poverty, energy shortages, etc.) are more than just big problems; these are truly wicked problems. In 1973, Rittel& Weber distinguished the characteristics of wicked problems in the hopes of informing solutions the might require methods beyond those of traditional problem solving. The purpose of this course is to engage students with: (1) the characteristics of wicked problems, (2) the structure, methods, and mindsets of the social impact community, and (3) the application of these methods and mindsets to address and dissolve wicked problems.
Q: Am I just teaching people how to teach my course?
Preferably not. While you may undoubtedly feel like you are teaching participants how you teach your course, please also take a step back and share insights into the methods and mindsets of teaching, in general—such as course development, classroom engagement, even (gasp) grading. In other words, the roundtables are about the general process of developing and managing a course built upon the foundations of organization theory, with your course/skillset just so happening to be a specific example on the table for discussion, such that this somewhat intangible process can be made more tangible.