I am excited that Plymouth State University is the recipient of a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation to implement Cluster pedagogy in our General Education Program. I have written about this grant application before and quoted the application’s definition of Cluster pedagogy. Cluster pedagogy is the set of characteristics that bring the four tools of clusters together into a coherent curriculum. Those characteristics are:
- Interdisciplinarity and integration: Students are challenged to understand and use various disciplinary perspectives and to integrate those perspectives to create new and unique projects and/or solutions.
- Project-based work that extends beyond the walls of the classroom: Students work on projects that impact the world outside of the classroom in some way.
- Sharing with an external audience: Student work is shared with an audience external to the course.
The application further explains:
Our vision of cluster pedagogy is informed by the wider movement toward open pedagogy that we see taking hold in higher education. We subscribe to the definition of open pedagogy articulated by DeRosa and Jhangiani in “What is Open Pedagogy?”. They write that open pedagogy is advocacy for the use of open educational resources merged with pedagogical approaches that emphasize “collaboration, connection, diversity, democracy, and critical assessment of educational tools and structures.” Cluster pedagogy is PSU’s particular implementation of open pedagogy in which we emphasize work on projects that reach beyond the walls of the classroom in a variety of ways. We believe that our particular implementation of open pedagogy can be a model for other universities interested in better preparing their students for success.
The grant supports professional development opportunities for a community of PSU teacher-scholars who are committed to providing Cluster pedagogy-based experiences for our students. We are lucky to have PSU’s own Robin DeRosa also working on the project. Her expertise and guidance will be invaluable.
More information about participating in the community will be available soon. I can’t wait to get started!