The Pathfinder Building Blocks


Author: Carmita Sanchez-Fong

Go to: ETAP 623 Spring 2012

Go to portfolio page: A Pathfinder as a Coordination and Teaching Tool

The Pathfinder Building Blocks



The challenge for those of us teaching different sections of the same course, is to be able to deliver course content and assess outcomes in a way that is consistent across all sections. Robust, collaborative and systematic, course coordination that allows teachers to share resources, experiences, and knowledge has the power of transforming course coordination.

A Pathfinder as a Course Coordination and Teaching Tool will provide the opportunity for effective knowledge gathering and sharing among all participants and for the development of "Communities of Practice" that are able to deliver consistent learning experiences in multi-section courses. Mark Stone and Harriet Dismore of the University of Plymouth describe communities of practice as follows:

"Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly’ (Wenger, 2007). A CoP is formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared area of interest and requires the following characteristics: the domain; the community; the practice. The domain is the area of interest; the community is formed by the relationships (conversations, discussions, etc.) between members; and the practice is what community members do with learning derived from their interaction."

For this pathfinder I have selected a third semester course in the Interior Design Program at FIT which follows the Professional Standards 2011 as set by The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). The course is an introduction to Methods and Materials for Interior Construction. See unit six for a full description.

Unit One: Building a Pathfinder

Target Objective

To develop the structure for a Pathfinder Template that will define the means and methods of gathering, analyzing, and organizing the resources being constructed and shared by faculty teaching multi-section courses.

Unit Two: Course Coordination and Educational Quality

Target Objective

To invite learners to re-envision course coordination and educational quality through the lens of a pathfinder that will hold the shared resources of a team of faculty teaching several sections of the same course.

Unit Three: Formal Curriculum vs. Enacted Curriculum

Target Objective

Formal curriculum being the written descriptions and guidelines to follow for a particular course and Enacted curriculum the actual transformations that takes place with the teacher-student interactions when implementing the given concepts. Learners will be able to identify the resources, digital and otherwise, that will support the curricular conversations.

Unit Four: Quality, Quantity, and Relatedness in the curriculum

Target Objective

Learners will be able to contribute and share quality resources of substance that will contribute to the relatedness in the curricular conversation.

Unit Five: Instructional Scaffolding

Target Objective

Learners will identify resources in the pathfinder that will serve as instructional scaffolding in the construction of new knowledge.

Unit Six: The Pathfinder Template

Target Objective

The development of a well-orchestrated pathfinder of resources that will assist in making "the thinking and learning process" visible.

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