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Supporting STEM Faculty Online: Apprenticing Students into Mathematical/STEM Thinking

Drawing on previous investment in the Reading Apprenticeship Community College STEM Network (link: https://www.wested.org/project/reading-apprenticeship-community-college-stem-network-raccsn/) (funded by the Helmsley Trust) and the Transforming STEM Teaching Faculty Learning Program (link: https://3csn.org/2019/08/26/3csn-brings-uc-berkeleys-faculty-learning-program-to-california-community-colleges/) (in partnership with UC Berkeley), in 2020 3CSN teamed up with the CSU Chancellor’s Office and secured funding from the California Educational Learning Lab (https://opr.ca.gov/learninglab/) to create intensive learning communities to support Math and STEM educators: “Apprenticing Students into Mathematical/ STEM Thinking” (link: https://3csn.org/stem-instructors-learning-community-how-to-apprentice-students-into-scientific-thinking/) 120 instructors from 15 California State Universities and 30 California community colleges began an intensive professional learning experience this summer, starting with a 3-day summer institute with daily Canvas assignments and Zoom workshops. Supported by a cadre of more experienced STEM faculty coaches, the participants will continue to work through assignments, workshop their lesson plans, and create a repository of OER assignments and assessments in progress until May 2021. 4 units of post-baccalaureate credit from CSU Dominguez Hills are available for this course.

Participants express gratitude for the opportunity to be in an extended learning community to get support for teaching during these extraordinary times. As one participant expressed, “I know students should be doing active learning. I don’t know how to make it work.”

So far, it is evident that the participants’ own experiences as learners in community have contributed to their application of new knowledge about the social and personal dimensions of learning in their instruction because they understand so viscerally how important community is right now. One participant describes after the September workshop: “from this session I got great ideas from colleagues; it’s wonderful to have the chance to talk to peers and see/hear what ideas they are trying out. I also came to appreciate, based on discussing the readings, the importance of feeling safe and belonging, in order to pave the way for learning.”