Dawson Active Learning Community (DALC)
What is DALC?
The Dawson Active Learning Community (DALC) is a group of Dawson faculty from a variety of disciplines. The aim of the DALC is to improve teaching and learning through evidence-based Active Learning (AL) pedagogical practices, the development, design and effective use of complementary educational technologies.
The DALC is based on a community of practice model where Teachers support teachers by sharing knowledge and experiences to improve the classroom experience and enrich the learning of their students. At Dawson College, Communities of practice have been driving change and innovation for over 10 years. The College supports these teacher-driven communities and has recently developed the Faculty Hub, a home for the communities of practice and a website that centralizes resources to help all teachers.
The DALC began as a small group of teachers almost a decade ago. Today, membership includes more than 100 teachers in the Arts, Social Sciences and Sciences.
- Contact coordinators Chris Whittaker and Selma Hamdani at firstname.lastname@example.org
- View DALC videos on a variety of topics… on our Faculty Hub videos!
- Access our Miro Board here!
The three components of the Dawson Active Learning Community are:
- Active Learning Spaces (classrooms and laboratories)
- Community of Practice (CoP) Meet-ups
- Coordinator(s) and Fellows
Active Learning Spaces
Dawson College has 16 AL spaces with various designs and technologies. Any teacher who wishes to learn how to use these spaces can find support through DALC. The spaces are carefully designed learning environments that serve as technological amplifiers for AL pedagogical practices. They are used by faculty from departments and programs across the College. The variety, number and type of AL spaces at Dawson has grown in lockstep with the demand for such spaces, the capacity to use them effectively, and evidence from data and research. This development cycle is an integrated, cooperative effort that is driven by DALC, but includes institutional systems such as Facilities Management, the Registrar’s Office, Information System Technologies, and the Office of Academic Development.
DALC Community of Practice Meet-ups
Each semester the DALC organizes a series of approximately 15 meet-ups that are designed to help faculty develop capacity and expertise with regard to active learning pedagogies. The DALC Meet-ups are open to anyone.
Coordinator(s) and Fellows
The DALC is coordinated by a faculty member(s) who is released from a portion of his/her teaching duties. The role of the DALC Coordinator includes these tasks:
- Coordinate the scheduling of active learning classrooms
- Recruit, select, and guide the DALC Fellows
- Plan and facilitate DALC meet-ups
- Participate in the planning, addition, and maintenance of active learning resources – including spaces
- Promote active learning approaches to the College community and network
- Coordinate workshops for Dawson faculty (special requests and pedagogical days)
- Prepare reports and documentation
DALC Fellows are released from a portion of their regular teaching duties to help develop capacity and expertise with regard to active learning pedagogies and resources across the College. In collaboration with the DALC Coordinator, the Fellows coordinate the Meet-ups, develop individual projects with a specific outcome/product, and engage in a reflective process based on a review of research and pedagogical literature that will inform their pedagogy and enrich DALC activities. The role of the DALC Fellows includes these tasks:
- Develop and facilitate DALC Meet-ups
- Research and review active learning literature/resources
- Observe AL teachers in the classroom 3-5 times a semester
- Participate in DALC Fellows meetings to discuss readings and plan DALC Meet-ups
- Develop a resource/product for the benefit of the DALC. Some of these may be added to the AL resources on the SALTISE website
- Prepare reports and documentation for the Dawson community
- Contribute to the learning of other communities of practice and SALTISE, e.g., presentations at Dawson’s Pedagogical Day and annual SALTISE conference.
Calls for DALC Fellows are made according to release-time availability and are advertised to the entire Dawson community. All faculty who are eligible for release can apply for a DALC Fellowship. Typically, calls for DALC Fellows go out in early-mid semester.