By Jennifer Hoyt
A leader of the University Teaching Project’s spring series at William & Mary teamed up with two doctoral students from the School of Education to offer insight on self-regulated learning for both faculty and students of higher education. Encouraging conversation and collaboration on self-regulation strategies, Executive Professor Gene Roche opened the February 6 workshop with a clear message: the future of teaching and learning is rapidly changing.
With more than 35 years of classroom instruction and Information Technology management, his perspective was met with appreciation by those gathered in Swem Library’s Ford Classroom. Joining Roche were graduate students and colleagues Jane Core Yatzeck and Trici Fredrick who participated in a semester-long investigation that focused on using tools like learning contracts to self-directed growth and personalize instruction. Together, the academic trio aimed to popularize the structuring of pedagogical approaches around unique student interests and backgrounds during the noon session titled Building Self-regulated Learners.
“The goal of this workshop is to explore how an understanding of self-regulation, and the related topics of self-direction, metacognition, and learning how to learn can help faculty support students in taking more responsibility for planning, carrying out, and evaluating their own learning,” shared Roche. He emphasized the importance of lifelong learning and its influence on individual development, active citizenship, and the formation of successful careers.
Roche, Yatzeck, and Fredrick addressed the methods practiced by college students to learn new material and encouraged heightened integration of these practices in the classroom. “We are entering into a period of time in the next decade or so that is going to challenge our traditional assumptions about learning in ways that have never been challenged before,” Roche predicted. The executive professor pointed to technological advancement, mainly artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation, as a determinant of change. “Those forces are going to turn upside down everything that we think we know about what it means to learn as a human being.”
Ann Marie Stock, William & Mary’s vice provost for academic and faculty affairs, also attended the workshop and described how her professional experiences gained from administrative roles and scholarship shaped her academic views on the future of teaching and learning. “All of that converges with a real, strong interest in helping create structures at William & Mary that really support teaching effectiveness, academic innovation, and bring us together to do our best thinking, our best work,” said Stock.
William & Mary student Emma Arents shared the vice provost’s views on learning as she prepares to earn her degree this year. “I was honored to be so welcomed into the group of attendees, especially in a collection of administration and faculty where I was only an undergraduate.” As for Roche, he voiced his gratitude for Yatzeck and Fredrick’s contributions on self-regulated learning and offered motivation for faculty as they return to their own students. “If we’re going to be true to our cause as preparing the next generation of citizens, the next generation of workers, the next generation of responsible human beings, we’re going to have to consider what are we doing now that are preparing them for that kind of future, preparing them to be the kind of lifelong learners that we want them to be.”