I would like to extend an invitation to you and your colleagues to attend a "Reacting to the Past" workshop at Duke University on January 19-20, 2013.
"Reacting to the Past" (RTTP) is an innovative pedagogical approach to teaching the history of ideas, which Mark Carnes first developed at Barnard College. RTTP consists of elaborate games, set in the past, in which students are assigned roles informed by classic texts. The pedagogy aims to promote student engagement with big ideas and to improve intellectual and academic skills. Students do everything that is required in a regular class--read important texts, write papers, give presentations--but in the form of a game.
The pedagogy has grown exponentially in popularity in the last ten years, as it has been adopted by faculty at over 300 colleges and universities. Peer-reviewed studies illustrate that RTTP is remarkably successful in motivating students and energizing faculty. For a detailed account of the RTTP experience, you may wish to check out the feature published in the Chronicle of Higher Education this summer (http://chronicle.com/article/Mob-Rule-Political-
At the Duke workshop, participants will learn about RTTP by experiencing the games as would their students. The program will consist of two game tracks, along with a series of plenary sessions: one will feature Defining a Nation: India on the Eve of Independence, 1945; and the other, Frederick Douglass, Abolitionism, Slavery, and the Constitution, 1845. The registration fee is $75 for faculty and administrators and $25 for graduate students. The fee includes tuition, materials, and most meals. The costs are so low because the workshop is being generously supported by the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke and by the Teaching and Learning Center at Wake Forest University. For further details and registration information, please visit http://reacting.barnard.edu/duke-2013.
In Our Underachieving Colleges (2006), former Harvard President Derek Bok encouraged faculty and administrators to experiment and assess active-learning pedagogies. This workshop is an easy and fun way to explore what many regard as the most successful of these pedagogies, and one of the few that focuses on the classroom rather than online learning.
I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. I have also added links to more material on RTTP below.
And I do look forward to seeing you and your colleagues in January.
Adeline Koh, Ph.D.
Visiting Faculty Fellow,
Humanities Writ Large, Duke University (Fall 2012-Spring 2013)
Assistant Professor of Literature, Richard Stockton College
Email: Adeline.Koh@duke.edu or Adeline.Koh@stockton.edu
More Information on “Reacting to the Past”:
1. Descriptions of all the games, links to peer-reviewed studies and publications, and other instructor resources are
available on our web site: http://reacting.barnard.edu.
2. For a 60-second introduction to RTTP, check out the exchange between Alex Trebek and professor
Stephanie Jass (winningest woman in Jeopardy history): http://www.youtube.com/watch?
3. For additional testimonials by veteran RTTP instructors from around the nation, visit:http://www.youtube.com/
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