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Teaching and Learning

'Pop-up Courses' Provide Short-Term Learning Experiences at Saint Michael's College

Saint Michael's College, a private Catholic institution in Vermont, is updating its curriculum with a new "pop-up" course format. The courses are meant to "create a space for educated discussion between students and their instructors" about timely issues or interests that aren't being accommodated in the traditional curriculum, according to a news announcement.

The pop-up courses are offered for 0-1 credits and are pass/fail, providing a short-term learning experience without the pressure of grades. The college is currently offering two pop-ups:

  • A course on issues of diversity, inclusion and leadership on college campuses, offered by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion; and
  • Thriving in a Digital World, a course on using technology and being safe online, taught by staffers in the IT department.

"Higher education hasn't been too creative or responsive to students' needs and interests, and we need to be," said Karen Talentino, vice president of academic affairs, in a statement. She added that students are allowed to propose their own ideas for courses, which helps ensure the topics are relevant and innovative.

Talentino noted that a number of other institutions are implementing the pop-up approach, including Bennington College (VT) and Stanford University (CA).

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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