Open-Inquiry Course Design in the Public Policy Classroom

Open-Inquiry Course Design in the Public Policy Classroom

By Andrew Pennock, University of Virginia

Open inquiry course designs teach students to notice and learn about both the content of the course and about how they learn the content. Learning-how-to-learn (or metacognition about learning) is a primary course goal in open inquiry designs. Students first choose the problems that they will study during the course, then they co-create each class period as the semester progresses. They recognize deficiencies in their own content knowledge, skills, and learning processes and take actions to remedy them. By reflecting on their successes and failures, students practice the skill of self-directed learning. This process of metacognitive reflection is a crucial skill that they will need when they face novel problems after graduation. In open inquiry courses, students have produced high-quality work by learning about substantive policy areas that they choose to study, developing the policy skills that they deem important, and growing in their understanding about how they learn effectively

 

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