American Sociological Association

Student Engagement, Accountability, and Empowerment: A Case Study of Collaborative Course Design

This article describes an experiment in collaborative course design in a midlevel sociology course. Unlike most of the literature on collaborative teaching and learning, which often deals with collaboration among students, this article discusses collaboration between the instructor and students. The students in this course collaborated with the instructor in designing the course—choosing the readings and developing the assignments—from the first day of class. Student feedback on the experiment was overwhelmingly positive. Three major themes that emerged from the student feedback were (1) higher levels of student engagement, (2) a sense of personal accountability, and (3) student empowerment. While the results of the student feedback mostly point to positive experiences, collaboration between students and instructors does bring a high level of uncertainty and extra work for the instructor involved. The article ends with some further guidance for those considering collaborative learning in their classrooms.


Jafar, A.





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