“What we need to do is make our teaching and learning environments map much more closely with our students skills, with their ambitions, with the way they understand why they’re in the university,” said Andrew Hamilton, the executive director of academic innovation.
Hamilton leads the Innovate UH initiative to change the way 21st century students learn.
“The innovate UH initiative is about scaffolding the work that the students do so they get their heads in it far enough to understand what it is to learn,” he said.
Technology is a big part of the initiative that moves away from large lecture halls in favor of a new kind of classroom. Located, eventually, in the residential facilities, the new classrooms are aimed at increasing and structuring students’ the time spent on the material.
“This isn’t about whether they’re intellectually capable, they’re all intellectually capable,” he said. “There are, however, learned skills of sense-making and application of concepts that have to be taught.”
Reading material will have built-in surveys, opportunities to review and master material. Class time will include homework time. A community service component will be built into curriculum. Innovate UH will start with a thousand freshman and 11 core courses.
“And the motivation is that you help build a better Houston,” Hamilton said.
Innovative Ideas are part of what’s happening at the University of Houston.