Inquiry Groups

Inquiry groups and Learning Communities provide a forum for all Northeastern educators to come together for ongoing dialogue and reflection on a specific topic in teaching and learning.

Inquiry groups and learning communities typically involve periodic group meetings (either in person or online) over the course of a semester.

We are offering several inquiry groups and learning communities during Spring 2021.


Learning Communities for Impactful Community Engagement

Join one of two fall learning communities on impactful community engagement to expand your knowledge and professional network through small-group discussions with NU faculty and staff, as well as service-learning community partners (supported by resources provided by the program sponsors). The themes of these learning communities are: (1) Teaching for Social Justice in Service-Learning and Community Engagement and (2) Community Partnerships and both are open to any faculty member, staff, graduate student, or community partner who is interested.

Learning Community (1) – Teaching for Social Justice in Service-Learning and Community Engagement

This track will explore the ways in which educators (of all levels and disciplines) can further social justice through their interactions. Utilizing social justice teaching frameworks, exploration of individual social location, and fostering social consciousness in learners, this learning community is meant to support educators who want to think about how they can foster social justice. Participants will create an activity that students will do to learn about the importance of social justice in the course discipline and how that relates to the partner’s mission.

Learning Community (2) – Community Partnerships

This track will explore the ways in which stakeholders of service-learning courses can build and maintain responsible and ethical partnerships. With a focus on building responsible partnerships that acknowledge the context of each different stakeholder, this learning community will help individuals foster transformational community partnerships. Participants will create an activity that the community partner liaison and the faculty member can do collaboratively to strengthen and equalize the partnership.

Participants in both learning communities must attend the pre-scheduled kick-off and showcase events, along with three learning community meetings during the semester. Each learning community will meet for monthly one-hour meetings, with meeting dates/times to be determined by the participants. For each of these sessions, participants will receive a discussion guide for their meeting, as well as readings and worksheets to prepare in advance of their time together. Meetings are facilitated via Zoom and materials shared via Google.

Required meetings:

  • Kick-Off: January 7, 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM (ET) – Register here!
  • Three small-group meetings, to be scheduled by each group
  • Showcase: April 15, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM (ET)

Flexible Learning Inquiry Group

Are you beginning to think about the future of NUflex once it is no longer a necessity? The Flexible Learning Inquiry Group will meet for five sessions to read and discuss Brian Beatty’s ebook Hybrid-Flexible Course Design. Beatty pioneered the hybrid-flexible format a decade ago to respond to student needs for flexible course participation. His text includes theoretical foundations, planning strategies, and numerous case studies. We encourage participants in this group to attend multiple sessions, but will also welcome members on a session-by-session basis.The book is available online at no cost at: https://edtechbooks.org/hyflex

The session dates are: 2/11, 2/25, 3/11, 3/25, and 4/8. Register here!

The reading schedule for meetings is as follows:

  • 2/11: Sections 1.1-1.3 Beginnings, Costs and Benefits, Values and Principles
  • 2/25: Sections 1.4 Designing a Hybrid-flexible Course AND 3.3 New Technologies Deliver on the Promise of HyFlex
  • 3/11: Sections 2.1 Teaching a Hybrid-Flexible Course AND 3.7 A Faculty Transitional Journey from Single Mode to HyFlex Teaching
  • 3/25: Sections 2.2 Learning in a Hybrid-Flexible Course AND 3.6 HyFlex at Montana State University Billings
  • 4/8: Sections 2.5 Evaluating the Impact of Hybrid-Flexible Courses and Programs AND Using HyFlex in Statistics for Engineers and (Data) Scientists

Learning Community: Becoming an Antiracist Educator

How can we as educators work toward individually and collectively becoming antiracist? How can examining our own racial identities and educational practices lead us to meaningfully take steps toward an antiracist agenda in our respective learning environments? In this learning community, offered in collaboration with the Center for Intercultural Engagement, we will explore an array of antiracist readings, videos, and podcasts, including excerpts from Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist (2019) and Singh’s Racial Healing Handbook (2019). By registering, you are committing to participate in all three sessions and complete approximately two hours of pre-work before our sessions on March 2, March 16, and March 30. Register here!


Faculty Learning Circles

For many of us, this past year has challenged us to quickly adapt to new technologies and modalities of teaching. In Spring 2020, we made a rapid transition to remote teaching, and in Fall 2020, we began teaching in the NUflex format. Some of us have also forayed into the fully online teaching of NU Start courses. What works? What can we learn from each other? Faculty Learning Circles provide an opportunity for us to come together, sharing our firsthand experience and strategies. There will also be time to brainstorm solutions to the challenges that we are still figuring out.

The meetings dates are: 2/2, 2/16, 3/2, 3/16, 3/30, 4/13.