I have taught a total of eleven courses at the University of Pennsylvania, Brooklyn College and the College of Charleston since 2013. You can find my detailed course evaluations here.
Additionally, I’ve taught two sessions of Statistical methods and analysis for experimental philosophy at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain in 2017.
I am an advocate of team-based learning (TBL) approaches, which I’ve successfully integrated in my recent courses. I’m also developing new syllabi that incorporate elements of TBL in upper-division philosophy courses. If you’d like to look over my syllabi, including those in development listed below, just send me an email.
– Contemporary Issues in Philosophy of Mind
– Philosophy of Cognitive Science
– Moral Psychology
– Philosophy of Science
– Collective Action
Often, I split my classes between a TBL-phase and an application-phase. During TBL, students will break into their predetermined, four-to-five person, semester-long teams–equipped with their own team-names and representatives (think pub quiz team). Teams then have three tasks: a team-quiz, an individual-quiz, and a team-review. During the team-quiz, teams must develop a consensus to answer a series of long-form questions that tie the readings together. Then, everyone must answer an individual quiz–with short-form questions, that covers the readings. This encourages students to ask questions of their peers if they’re unsure of the material. Finally, everyone must complete a team-review where they evaluate their teammates, and provide constructive criticism. It’s important that the professor finds a way to detect and dissuade collusion. I’m pretty strict, and will fail a team for the entire exercise if their comments are not thoughtful and transparent.
After the TBL-phase, we reconvene to field questions, discuss the readings, and apply the arguments to a series of contemporary issues, often bringing in various media sources (think youtube and the New Yorker).
In my experience, TBL-styled exercises do increase student engagement, and they strongly incentivize preparation and familiarization with the material. In a pure TBL course, which I’m interested to try in future introductory preparations, nearly the entire class-time is devoted to TBL exercises. Also, both team and individual quizzes are presented as multiple-choice scratch-off cards, which allows for immediate feedback and a more tense team-deliberation phase.
For more information on TBL approaches, and how to implement TBL in philosophy courses specifically, I’d recommend the following:
- Here’s a basic overview of team-based learning in action.
- Kimberly Van Orman’s recently published piece, “Teaching Philosophy with Team-Based Learning”