Reflections on the 4th hour @ Elon

Challenging Students, Challenging Ourselves:
Creative Teaching and the 4th Hour

Our move to four-hour classes a decade ago enabled us to fundamentally change our curriculum and the academic challenge we placed before our students. Our national recognition as a leader in engaged learning demonstrates how successful we have been in this change.

In the presentations on this site, we see pedagogical techniques (simulations, writing to learn, electronic discussions, case studies) that promote active and engaged learning. We also see students apply what they have learned to authentic problems in the classroom, laboratory, campus, and wider community. In some of these, students grapple with community based problems. In others, students engage in mentored research. In all these innovations, we see students actively involved in their own learning.

These opportunities help prepare students for life after college. With faculty mentoring and guided participation, students have opportunities to develop independent thinking and problem solving abilities to help face future challenges, both personal and professional. Students come to see themselves as creators of knowledge, finding a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from working through complex and often messy experiences.

Our faculty have created a variety of innovative ways of engaging students and inspiring learning, however challenges remain.