Curricular Infusion Project

Title III Engaging Students Curriculum Development

Curricular Infusion Project 2012-13

An Opportunity for Faculty to Infuse College Success Strategies and Modules in their Courses

This Year's College Success Infusion Focus:

 College Knowledge:
Explicit instruction in and engagement with the college habits of mind and behaviors that support college success.


Ten Mini-Grants Available for Curricular Infusions

Ten curriculum development mini-grants are available to infuse "college knowledge" strategies into your curriculum.  Sponsored by the Title III Engaging Students grant, these mini-grants support curriculum development of integrative learning activities that intentionally build students' knowledge and skills at the complex work of being a successful college student.

What does that entail? For this year's infusion, we are focusing on the supporting behaviors, skills and contextual awareness that together help students to navigate successfully through college and life. We are using Skip Downing's "learning college customs" framework and David Conley's "facets of college readiness" to target two major areas for this curricular infusion: "Academic Behaviors" and "Contextual Skills and Awareness"

Help your students develop ACADEMIC BEHAVIORS that will help them succeed. Examples:

1. Develop an activity or assignment/set of assignments that explicitly engage students' self-monitoring and metacognitive abilities so that they will learn skills in understanding their own blind spots and limits in their understanding.

2. Develop an activity or assignment/set of assignments that explicitly encourages/cultivates student's ability to persist when confronted with a difficult task.

3. Develop an activity or assignment/set of assignments that explicitly teaches students to identify and employ a number of learning strategies.

4. Develop an activity or assignment/set of assignments that explicitly encourages and models transfer of learning strategies from familiar to unfamiliar contexts.

5. Develop an activity or assignment/set of assignments that explicitly develops students' mastery of study skills beyond reading and answering questions: (e.g., time management, balancing social and academic life, using information resources, note taking, communication with advisors/counselors.)

CONTEXTUAL SKILLS AND AWARENESS

As Conley writes, "contextual factors encompass primarily the privileged information necessary to understand how college operates as a system and culture (13)."[i]

  1. Develop an activity or assignment/set of assignments that helps students to uncovering and internalize this privileged information.  Such information is discussed in Skip Downing's book On Course (available upon request) and includes the college customs such as knowing how to use the college catalog, understanding prerequisites, completing general education requirements early, knowing when/how/if to withdraw from a course, etc.
  2. Develop an activity or assignment/set of assignments that explicitly engage students' in a systemic understanding of the postsecondary educational system.
  3. Develop an activity or assignment/set of assignments that supports students' learning specific knowledge of the norms, values, and conventions of interactions in the Lane context (and beyond for transfer or credentialing).
  4. Develop an activity or assignment/set of assignments that explicitly develops human relations skills necessary to cope with and adapt to Lane and beyond. For some students, these skills are unfamiliar and may be "radically different from the community in which a particular student was raised" (Conley 13). 

What is an infusion?

For our purposes, a curricular infusion introduces a key concept, strategy, idea, principle or skill from the list above (or related ideas) into the learning activities of your disciplinary course(s).  The learning outcomes of your class remain the same, but can be enhanced with collateral learning through infusions of college success strategies.  By weaving instruction in and engagement with "college knowledge" into your pedagogical approach and activities, you are offering students opportunities to practice skills needed to succeed in college and in life.

How can you approach a "curricular infusion"?

Read our Tips for Developing Curricular Infusions

Examples from other faculty who have developed assignments can be found here: http://bit.ly/qlRk7F·

Over the five years of the Title III grant, our goal is to use a multi-pronged approach to improve student retention and success. Students come to Lane with a variety of life skills and study skills, and by integrating development of academic behaviors such as personal responsibility and interdependence into curricular and co-curricular activities across campus, we offer students multiple opportunities to accrue skills over the course of their career here that will support lifelong learning and success.

[i] "College knowledge" and "college readiness" dimensions and quotes are taken from David Conley's "Redefining College Readiness."  Eugene, Oregon: Educational Policy Improvement Center, March 2007.

Application for Mini-Grant 2012-13

Some Tips for Designing Infusions

Sample Lane Faculty Infusions

On Course Across the Curriculum: Look at How Other Faculty Nationally Have Infused College Success Strategies across Disciplines

On Course Examples of Infusions

Problem-Based Learning Clearinghouse--a resource with assignments you can adapt/adopt

Tea and Topics Handout on Infusions

Case Place for Ideas for Case-Based Learning

Useful Packet of Templates/Handouts from the On Course Workshop 2010 

If you are interested in working on such infusions this academic year, contact Anne McGrail mcgraila@lanecc.edu.