2012 Institute: Concurrent Sessions - Call for Proposals

The annual institute program includes a series of standing sessions sponsored by the Reacting Advisory Board that introduce general issues pertaining to “Reacting to the Past” (RTTP).  Topics for these concurrent sessions include:

  • The Classroom Experience: RTTP According to Students (recommended for newcomers)
  • Instructor / Gamemaster: The Art of Teaching in the RTTP Classroom (recommended for newcomers)
  • Game Design Workshop (recommended for experienced RTTP instructors)

We also invite individual faculty and teams to propose topics for sessions that allow smaller groups to explore particular matters in greater detail.   

Concurrent sessions will be roughly 85 minutes in length and will likely have an audience ranging from 25 to 40 participants.  There is no set format for these sessions:  they might consist of a hands-on workshop, video presentation, or discussion panel.  We encourage collaborative proposals among faculty from multiple institutions.

The following is an illustrative list of ideas that have surfaced over the past few months, although we welcome topics outside of those included here:    

  • Teaching in the Liminal Classroom:  What is liminality and how is it achieved? How can it be achieved sooner in a RTTP game? Are set-up classes really necessary?  Should they be conducted in a different manner than in a traditional classroom to encouraged students to enter “game mode” sooner?
  • When Reacting Classes Flop: Faculty experienced with RTTP know that the games do not teach themselves. Instructors have to nudge and prod and inspire and criticize students. Yet even the most skillful gamemasters admit that sometimes a game just flops.  What are the common challenges or pitfalls that instructors should look out for? For example, are there particularly effective strategies to overcome issues related to poor student engagement or class participation? On the other end of the spectrum, how might instructors handle student ingenuity, particularly when overzealous students attempt to do something that might derail the game or hamper other students’ learning experience?
  • The Role of the Post-Mortem: Beyond telling students what really happened in the historical moment, what is the value here? Could Post-Mortems be changed to help students think about real-world issues and apply concepts that they learned in the game? How might this be approached? Planned?
  • Course Design and Curriculum: How can the games be adapted for different curricular settings? Topics might include ways to pair games thematically or to promote skills development or learning within the disciplines; the benefits and drawbacks of adapting RTTP for a survey or lecture course; the challenges of using RTTP with non-traditional or under-prepared students.
  • Recruiting for Reacting on Your Campus: Given that the pedagogical experience is so difficult to "envision," have you found any strategies particularly effective in promoting dissemination within your institution or among colleagues in your field? How do you get people involved who "sniff" at games or don’t have time to commit to playing a game in a workshop? What works? What doesn't?
  • Broad Questions concerning the future of “Reacting to the Past” and/or undergraduate teaching and learning.

Proposals should be emailed to reacting@barnard.edu no later than March 15, 2012. Applicants will be notified of the status of their proposal(s) by April 15. Submissions should include the following:

  • Session Title and Format
  • Contact Information for the proposers/facilitators
  • Brief description for institute program (maximum 100 words)
  • Abstract describing the session activities, major issues/questions to be addressed, and relevance to the suggested themes (maximum 300 words)
  • Anticipated audiovisual needs (if any)

Note: All session facilitators at the summer institute will be responsible for the appropriate registration fees, travel, and lodging expenses.