Presentations and Abstracts

Presentations (exact schedule TBA); abstracts below:

Faculty Development Center Demonstration Lab, Massey Leadership Center Rm. 444

1.      “Gender Disparities in Undergraduate Philosophy Retention: Lessons from STEM”
Gina Schouten, Danielle Wylie and Elena Spitzer, University of Wisconsin- Madison

2.      “Mentorship and Gender Equity in Undergraduate Philosophy Programs”
Julia Haas and Catherine Homan, Emory

3.      “On the Contested Value of Multiculturalism or Globalization for Teaching Ancient Philosophy”
Omar Bozeman & Kipton Jensen, Morehouse College
See their presentation here:  

4.      Student Entitlement and Student Evaluation of Teaching: Normative Implications for Undergraduate Pedagogy in Philosophy and Psychology,
Diana Buccafurni-Huber, Gordon Lamb, and Maria Botero, Sam Houston State University

5.      “An Aversion to Obligations: Engaging and Teaching Students about Obligations”
Court Lewis , University of Alabama, Birmingham

6.      Problem-Based Learning in Undergraduate Ethics Courses”
Robert Kirkman, GA Tech

7.      “A Moral Decision-Making Procedure for Applied Ethics Across the Curriculum”
James Sennett, Brenau University


9.      Learning Argument Diagramming Online”
Mara Harrell, Carnegie Mellon University

10.  "Collaborative, problem-based learning with the argument visualization software "AGORA-net"
Michael Hoffman , GA Tech

11. "Outreach as Impact: Teaching Philosophy in an Informal Setting," 

John Torrey, University of Memphis

12.  “Using Surveys in Philosophical Teaching and Research”
Nathan Nobis, Morehouse College

13. "Crafting Assessment-Based Learning Outcomes for Philosophy."
Galen Foresman, NC A&T State Univesity

1.      “Gender Disparities in Undergraduate Philosophy Retention: Lessons from STEM”
Gina Schouten, Danielle Wylie and Elena Spitzer,  University of Wisconsin- Madison

 There is a growing body of research on the causes of and possible remedies for gender disparities in performance and retention among undergraduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses. Although philosophy faces its own worrisome gender gap in undergraduate retention, we lack targeted empirical data to inform our efforts to remedy the disparity in our discipline. Although philosophy-specific studies are clearly wanting, they are unlikely to be forthcoming in the near future. In the meantime, we think there are important lessons to be gleaned from research in STEM fields regarding possible strategies for confronting gender disparities. But there are also important complications to address in using STEM research to develop strategies for improving female retention in philosophy. In this interactive, three-part panel discussion, we will first present evidence from recent studies of gender disparities in STEM fields. We will then lead a discussion of the application of this evidence to our own philosophy courses, and the potential difficulties which beset such an application. Throughout, we will draw on our experiences teaching and mentoring undergraduate students, and invite the audience to contribute their experiences as well.
Part 1:
In trying to explain the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields, some scientists and public figures (most famously Larry Summers) have entertained the hypothesis that biological differences, including neurological differences, between men and women affect women’s performance in STEM courses and their pursuit of STEM careers. In this portion of the panel, I will familiarize the audience with the evidence that this hypothesis is ultimately unsuccessful in explaining underrepresentation of women in STEM fields. I will also extend these conclusions to argue that the hypothesis is not a viable explanation of underrepresentation of women in philosophy, either.
One variant of this hypothesis claims that biological differences lead to differences in aptitude. Because women face more difficulty in performing the work done in STEM fields, the thinking goes, they are less inclined to study these areas. However, this variant has fallen out of favor, as studies have repeatedly shown that very few differences in aptitude exist, and those that do exist seem to be a matter of social and psychological factors.
A more popular variant claims that biological differences (including hormonal and neurological differences) create differences in interests. If this hypothesis is correct, then even if women are as capable as men with respect to the work done in STEM fields, they are not interested in courses and careers in these fields. However, as Fine (2010) and Jordan-Young (2010) have suggested, this variant of the hypothesis does not bear out.
In extending this lesson from STEM to philosophy, I will suggest that the biological hypothesis fails in philosophy for the same reasons that it fails in STEM. I will also focus in part on whether biological differences provide an adequate explanation for Buckwalter and Stich’s (2010) finding that women’s intuitions vary from those that are commonly accepted by men in the field.
Part 2:
The phenomenon of stereotype threat is commonly invoked as a partial explanation for the persistent gender gap in academic performance within STEM disciplines. According to the stereotype threat hypothesis, fear of confirming stereotypes about the low aptitude of women relative to men in mathematics causes women to experience anxiety in circumstances wherein their performance might potentially confirm those stereotypes, such as high-stakes testing scenarios in STEM courses. This anxiety, in turn, causes women to underperform. Persistent anxiety and underperformance lead women to dis-identify with and withdraw from math-intensive disciplines. This phenomenon is thought to account for the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields, as women have lower persistence rates in high-level STEM courses than do their male peers.
It is unsurprising that the research on stereotype threat has focused on the STEM disciplines. STEM disciplines are among those with the most apparent gender disparities in student performance and retention, and they are among the disciplines wherein gender stereotypes most strongly prevail. While philosophy also has a clear problem with gender disparities, it is unlikely that undergraduates encountering philosophy for the first time have internalized any gendered stereotypes concerning academic performance in that discipline. Thus, we might be inclined to discount stereotype threat as an explanation for gender disparities in undergraduate persistence in philosophy. In this panel contribution, I suggest that philosophers should take stereotype threat seriously as a possible explanation, despite apparently relevant dissimilarities between philosophy and the STEM disciplines. I suggest, further, that while philosophy-specific data are unlikely to be forthcoming in the near future, there are important lessons to be gleaned in the meantime from research in STEM fields regarding possible strategies for counteracting the effects of stereotype threat.

Part 3:
Gender disparities in undergraduate retention have been fairly well-studied in STEM. Similar gender disparities in philosophy have received much less attention. While gender disparities in STEM improved markedly in the past 20 years, that is not the case for philosophy.
My fellow presenters will describe research that has been done regarding biological differences between men and women and stereotype threat—both proposed causes of gender disparities in STEM. I will conclude the panel with a discussion of some disanalogies between STEM and philosophy and suggestions for further research. Gaining a better understanding of whether and how gender disparities in philosophy may be different from those in STEM is a necessary step towards translating results from STEM.
I will focus on three disanalogies between STEM and philosophy. First, whereas STEM classes generally use exams to evaluate students, critical writing assignments are more common in philosophy classes. In order to understand gender disparities in philosophy, we must understand how proposed causes of disparities interact with different types of evaluations.
Second, we know little about the patterns of achievement and activity for women in philosophy, while this information is available for STEM. Do women receive lower grades in philosophy classes, or do they choose not to continue in philosophy despite relatively high grades? Different types of patterns of female philosophy students taking philosophy courses or pursuing philosophy majors would indicate different causes of gender disparity.
A third disanalogy concerns the prevalence of gendered stereotypes. The stereotype that men are better than women at math is quite prevalent, but there is no obvious parallel in philosophy. We need to do more research into how philosophers and non-philosophers view themselves, each other, and the discipline of philosophy in order to discover the attitudes and actions that contribute to gender disparities in philosophy. 
2.      “Mentorship and Gender Equity in Undergraduate Philosophy Programs”
Julia Haas and Catherine Homan, Emory

The Problem
In the United States, only engineering, computer science, and physics departments award a lower percentage of doctorates to women than philosophy departments do (NORC Survey of Earned Doctorates). Recent estimates indicate that women represent 2,158, or around 16.6%, of the approximately 13,000 total full-time philosophy faculty (2011 NCES Digest of Education Statistics). Interestingly, a recent report by the Society for Philosophy and Psychology indicates that the biggest drop in the proportion of women in philosophy occurs between the time when students first enroll in introductory philosophy classes and when they declare their majors (Paxton et al., 2012).

The Proposal
The study finds that this drop is mitigated by the presence of more women philosophy faculty, and briefly discusses the potential role of mentoring in reducing gender inequity in majors in philosophy. We pick up this suggestion and propose to discuss practical mentoring and teaching strategies to be adopted by philosophy faculty.

Our session consists of three parts. First, we discuss two theoretical models aimed at introducing better mentoring practices into undergraduate philosophy programs in order to reduce gender inequity in majors. The first model draws on the principles of the ‘changing classroom’ and its implications for traditional classroom structure and the heightened role of teacher-student collaboration. The second model is content to leave the field ‘as is’ and rather focuses on promoting the attitudes, networking skills and work habits that have helped other women succeed in philosophy. Second, we explore how these two models could be translated into formalized faculty instructor development programs. We discuss potential departmental climate and administrative challenges, but focus primarily on the kinds of practical mentoring strategies that would follow from our two models. Third, we facilitate an open discussion on the potential advantages and disadvantages of mentoring programs in philosophy, paying particular attention to the danger of pigeonholing women and especially young female faculty in traditional caregiver roles.

Learning Objectives
Sally Haslanger, a professor of philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has argued that factors that may hold women back include not enough good mentoring, and "cold and alienating environments" in many philosophy departments (Mangan, 2012). Participants in our session will explore practical mentoring and teaching strategies that have the potential to redress the inequity of undergraduate women choosing to pursue majors in philosophy.

"2011 NCES Digest of Education Statistics." Retrieved 2/13/13, from

Mangan, K., “In the Humanities, Men Dominate the Fields of Philosophy and History,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 29, 2012. Retrieved February 13, 2013, from

NORC at the University of Chicago, “NORC Survey of Earned Doctorates.” Retrieved February 13, 2013, from

Paxton, M., Figdor, C. and Tiberius, V. (2012), Quantifying the Gender Gap: An Empirical Study of the Underrepresentation of Women in Philosophy. Hypatia, 27: 949–957. doi: 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2012.01306.x

3.      “On the Contested Value of Multiculturalism or Globalization for Teaching Ancient Philosophy”
Omar Bozeman & Kipton Jensen, Morehouse College
The co-presenters will discuss the contested value of integrating multiculturalism or globalization into a traditional undergraduate course in ancient philosophy. Aligned to the institutional mission of Morehouse College, and in an effort to develop graduates who are “Renaissance Men with a social conscience and a global perspective serve and uplift” (Franklin, 2008), selected faculty members were encouraged to redesign various courses to reflect a more global or cosmopolitan perspective. In the philosophy department, one of the presenters redesigned – with uneven success – the course in ancient philosophy.

Although attempts at extending a traditional course of ancient philosophy beyond the shores of Greece are often viewed as overly ambitious, and accomplished only at the expense of a working competence with ancient Greek philosophy, perhaps something non-trivially valuable is gained by supplementing the traditional texts of ancient philosophy with texts  from non-western philosophical traditions (e.g., ancient Chinese, African, Persian, Judaic, and Indian thought). The co-presenters, who disagree on this point, will discuss what they consider to be the relative gains and losses of this multicultural or global approach to teaching the history of philosophy.

We also discuss the pedagogical method, viz., the ‘relative expert model,’ which one presenter put to the test in this particular class; the model is inspired by recent studies within the cognitive sciences on effective teaching techniques. Thirty students were divided into six research groups, each of which was assigned a geographical region: Africa, China, India, Judea, Persia, and Greece. The aim was to distribute relative expertise into cross-cultural discussion groups and thus facilitate cross- cultural comparisons (e.g., between Confucius and Socrates, Aristotle and the Palestinian Prophets, Plato and Siddhartha, or Zoroaster and Amenhotep).

4.      “Student Entitlement and Student Evaluation of Teaching: Normative Implications for Undergraduate Pedagogy in Philosophy and Psychology,”
Diana Buccafurni-Huber, Gordon Lamb, and Maria Botero, Sam Houston State University

Student evaluations are one measure of the quality of instruction in an undergraduate course. However, what student evaluations of teaching actually measure, is far from clear. In a thought-provoking study on the influences that contribute to students’ assessment of university level instruction, Tracy Vaillancourt (2012) provides compelling data suggesting that undergraduate students retaliate against professors from which they receive poor grades through low evaluations of teaching. Vaillancourt’s analysis shows that students with higher self-esteem and higher narcissism who receive poor grades will rank a professor’s teaching ability lower than students with lower self-esteem and lower narcissism.
We are currently working on a study that is a modification of Vaillancourt’s study on an undergraduate population that is largely composed of first-generation students. In Vaillancourt’s study, students were asked to rate a professor’s competence only on the basis of a randomized “grade” (either a good grade or a poor grade) students received on their submitted essays. In our study we will have students watch a video in which a “professor” provides a 20-minute lesson on how to write an argumentative essay. Students then will be asked to compose an argumentative essay on the morality of the death penalty. After this, students will be asked to fill out a survey that includes: demographic information, an academic entitlement instrument (Greenberger 2008), a self-esteem instrument (Rosenberg 1989), and the Narcissism Personality Inventory (Raskins and Terry 1988). One week later, students will return to receive their graded essays which will be randomly assigned with a letter grade ranging from A to F with relevant feedback. After receiving their grades, students will fill out an evaluation on the instructor, followed by a debriefing session in which students will be informed of the true nature of the study.
If invited to present at the AAPT, we would like to share our findings with the conference attendees and we would aim for an interactive session. More specifically, we are interested in collectively thinking through how the empirical data from our study can come to bear on normative questions of pedagogy in teaching undergraduates in philosophy and psychology. For example, if our study does show, like Vaillancourt’s, that students evaluate instruction on the basis of their (perceived) performance, what might this mean for the methods that we ought to employ in our teaching? More specifically, consider the following tension. If inflated grading generates high student evaluations, how can instructors simultaneously refrain from compromising integrity, maintain standards of academic rigor, and make adequate progress toward tenure and promotion? We hope that the data we share from our study is the start of a broader conversation on how, in our role as instructors, we might contribute to a meaningful learning experience for students. In addition, we hope to discuss with conference participants how we might negotiate the moral dilemma that arises when the good of the student comes into sharp tension with the good of the instructor.
Ames, D. R., Rose, P., & Anderson, C. P. (2006). The NPI-16 as a short measure of narcissism. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 440-450.
Greenberger, E., Lessard, J., Chen, C., & Farruggia, S. P. (2008). Self-entitled college             students: Contributions of personality, parenting, and motivational factors.  Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37, 1193-1204.
Raskins, R. & Terry, H. (1988). A principal-components analysis of the narcissistic      personality inventory and further evidence of its construct validity. Journal of       Personality and Social Psychology, 54(5), 890-902.
Rosenberg, M. (1989). Society and the adolescent self-image (revised ed.). Middletown, CT:   Wesleyan University Press.
Vaillancourt, T. (2012). Students aggressing against professors in reaction to    receiving          poor grades: An effect moderated by student narcissism and self-esteem. Aggressive      Behavior, 00, 1-14.
5.      “An Aversion to Obligations: Engaging and Teaching Students about Obligations”
Court Lewis , University of Alabama, Birmingham

I teach a variety of ethics courses, including Introduction to Ethics, Contemporary Moral Problems, and several courses in Applied Ethics, and every semester I encounter an issue with how my students understand what is morally required of them, especially in regards to moral obligations.  When discussing obligations, specifically the obligation to save a drowning child, a large portion of my students claim they do not have a moral obligation  to help others in need, even if it costs them very little.  I mentioned this phenomenon to several of my colleagues, and many of them had never encountered such a response; however, several others had.  I began to wonder what might lead such a varied account among teachers at similar universities.  Is it the result of students bringing certain ideologies to class, or is it the result of certain pedagogical approaches?  Regardless of the answer, how do you effectively engage and teach students about the role of obligations in living the good life? 
      I would like to propose a panel designed to explore the following three issues: 1) student reactions to moral obligations, especially simple ones like saving a drowning a child; 2) approaches to teaching ethics/obligations that might enhance students’ aversion to obligations; and 3) approaches to teaching ethics/obligations that effectively show students the importance of moral obligations in living the good life.
      To help suggest some possible features of the panel, let me discuss a few things I have done over the past several years to address these three issues. I have developed a pedagogical approach designed to get students to carefully reflect on their own moral intuitions, one that challenges them to craft well-formulated moral beliefs that are consistent with each other.  From my engagement with students, I have found that student’s aversion to obligations is often the result of their fetishizing liberty, in the sense that they have given liberty a perverse importance.  Those who are averse to obligations are typically the students who claim, “I am free to do whatever I want.”  I envision the panel addressing student explanations for why they are averse to obligations, in order to determine whether there are significant similarities from different geographic areas and universities. 
      Over the past few years, I have also begun to poll my students at the beginning of the semester, in order to gauge their intuitions about a variety of issues, including whether they have an obligation to save a drowning child.  I hope this data, and any other data collected by panelists, will help show whether students’ aversion to obligations is the result of a particular teaching style or whether it is the result of certain ideological factors.
            Finally, I would like to have a discussion among the panelists (and audience) about effective pedagogical approaches to combating students’ aversion to obligations.   

6.      Problem-Based Learning in Undergraduate Ethics Courses”
Robert Kirkman, GA Tech

I am engaged in an ongoing project of redesigning courses in practical ethics, using a problem- based learning model. As I write this, I am in my second semester of teaching a practice-oriented course in ethical theory using the new design; I have also offered one course in environmental ethics that was likewise redesigned.

I propose in this session to describe and explain the approach, relate my early experiences with the new design – including some instructive missteps – and set out questions and problems yet to be addressed.

This project was motivated by a change in my understanding of the appropriate objectives of a course in practical ethics offered in the context of a technological university. Because of the nature of the institution, and because of requirements of engineering degree programs, the majority of students in my ethics courses are pursuing degrees in engineering. It seems inappropriate to treat my students as though they were in training to become academic philosophers.

A more appropriate goal for an undergraduate course in practical ethics is for each student to
acquire and learn to use a set of cognitive skills for normative problem solving. A series of lectures on moral theory is unlikely to help students actually to acquire those skills, and a series of canned case studies is unlikely to give students much practice in using them.

A more promising approach is to regard ethics education as a cognitive apprenticeship,
somewhat along the lines of a design workshop. In such a course, students engage directly in the processes of analyzing and beginning to address messy, concrete problems, with structure and some guidance offered by someone who has some expertise in those processes. Theoretical frameworks are introduced along the way, after students have started to engage in normative inquiry; they may then be in a better position to appreciate the uses of theoretical frameworks in sorting and organizing the array of value considerations that are in play.

The main work of such a course is carried out by groups of students working together in a
structured process of analysis, option generation and evaluation. Students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning, to contribute constructively and consistently to the ongoing work of the group, to manage their time and effort effectively, and to take time to reflect on the process of problem solving and the normative questions it raises.

The role of the instructor changes accordingly. The instructor may be expected to provide
appropriate structure and resources for inquiry but otherwise to intervene only when necessary, and then mainly to suggest procedures or lines of inquiry rather than answers or solutions. In short, the instructor takes on the role of a facilitator, helping to keep groups on task and helping to guide reflection on skills and processes.

Switching to a problem-based learning model is not without its challenges. Among other things, instructors must attend carefully to the design of realistic and engaging problem units that are just messy enough, they must learn to let go of lecturing while adapting to the role of facilitator, attend to and managing group dynamics and provide meaningful evaluation of group and individual work.

7.      “A Moral Decision-Making Procedure for Applied Ethics Across the Curriculum”
James Sennett, Brenau University, GA

“A Moral Decision-Making Procedure for Applied Ethics Across the Curriculum”

·         Presentation of a moral decision-making procedure grounded in generally accepted moral principles, applicable and adaptable to a wide range of academic and professional disciplines
·         Discussion concerning the application of this model to ethics education for various applied ethics courses with which participants are familiar

·         This project grew out of a business ethics course that I teach several times a year for the business department at my institution. I have been developing and honing the decision-making procedure presented here with special application to business ethics for the past several years.
·         That project in turn grew out of a long-held conviction that such a cross-disciplinary procedure could be derived from the theoretical ethics of W. D. Ross.

·         The presentation will begin with an overview of the decision-making procedure as currently presented in my business ethics class, along with an abstraction of its structure and the presentation of hypotheses regarding the extent to which that abstraction is applicable across disciplinary boundaries.
·         I will also present ways in which the procedure is helpful in curriculum development in my course. This will include its application in general course material as well as assessment instruments such as case analyses, exam questions, and research projects.
·         I will then invite discussion on the details of the procedure and the hypotheses concerning its application. I will especially solicit comments from those with experience in teaching applied ethics and discipline-specific ethics courses.
·         Depending on available time, I would like to form breakout groups for discussion of the procedure’s application to specific disciplines, such as medical ethics, political and social ethics, legal ethics, etc.

·         Critical evaluation of the procedure as currently developed with suggestions for revision and expansion
·         Establishment of a network of ethics teachers to explore the tenability of my hypotheses concerning the procedure’s applicability across the applied ethics curriculum


9.      Learning Argument Diagramming Online”
Mara Harrell, Carnegie Mellon University

Learning Argument Diagramming Online
I think everyone would agree that life is worth protecting, and that the environment sustains all of us. It stands to reason, then, that we need to protect the environment. One particular threat to the environment is the emission of greenhouse gasses. This is because greenhouse gasses trap the energy of the sun, causing the warming of the planet, and the warming of the planet could have catastrophic effects on the environment. So, we just can’t avoid the conclusion that we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
For the diagram, the claims are put into boxes, the inferential connections are represented by arrows, and all the excess verbiage is removed (see Figure 1 [currently omitted in this online post).
Figure 1. An argument diagram representing an argument for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recent research on the efficacy of an argument diagramming curriculum on developing critical thinking skills includes studies on both philosophy students in introductory classes and a mix of undergraduates in Critical Thinking classes. The former studies have shown that instruction that includes the use of argument diagrams to analyze, evaluate and create arguments significantly improves students’ critical thinking skills over the course of a semester (Harrell, 2008, 2011). The latter studies specifically on computer-supported argument visualization have shown that the use of software specifically designed to help students construct argument diagrams significantly improves critical thinking abilities over the course of a semester (Kirschner, Shum, and Carr 2003; Twardy 2004; van Gelder, Bissett, & Cumming, 2004). Additionally, research in this area has shown that student’s critical thinking about specific topics is improved if students collaborate on argument diagram instruction instead of working alone (Scheuer, et al., 2011a, 2011b).
This curricular supplement has been a tremendous success in our philosophy classes, and a few years ago we created an online “course” so students could learn the basics of argument diagramming outside of class. This freed up valuable class time to explore the use of argument diagramming to understand longer philosophical texts. This course has been offered as a free and open course, available to anyone anywhere in the world, although advertising that this is so has been difficult.
            This year, we updated the course in many ways, including: new interactive exercises, the integration of argument diagramming software, and quizzes. We have also gathered data on student performance on all of the interactive exercises as well as the quizzes.

In this workshop, I would like to do the following:
·         Share the research on the efficacy of using argument diagramming to increase critical thinking skills and writing ability
·         Demonstrate the current version of the online course—the participants in the workshop can explore any part of the course they wish, but there are some exercises that everyone would do together.
·         Discuss ways workshop participants can incorporate the online course into their own courses
·         Share the analysis of the student performance data

Harrell, M. (2011). Argument Diagramming and Critical Thinking in Introductory Philosophy. Higher Education Research & Development, 30(3), 371-385.
Harrell, M. (2008). No Computer Program Required: Even Pencil-and-Paper Argument Mapping Improves Critical Thinking Skills. Teaching Philosophy, 31, 351-374.
Kirschner, P.A., Shum, S.J.B., & Carr, C.S. (Eds.). (2003). Visualizing argumentation: Software tools for collaborative and educational sense-making. New York: Springer.
Scheuer, O., McLaren, B., Harrell, M., & Weinberger, A. (2011a). Will Structuring the Collaboration of Students Improve Their Argumentation? In G. Biswas, S. Bull, J. Kay, & A. Mitrovic (Eds.), Lecture notes in computer science: Artificial intelligence in education—15th international conference. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 6738, 544-546.
Scheuer, O., McLaren, B., Harrell, M., & Weinberger, A. (2011b). Scripting Collaboration: What Affects Does it Have on Student Argumentation? In T. Hirashima, G. Biswas T. Supnithi, & F. Yu (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Computers in Education: ICCE 2011. Chiang Mai, Thailand: National Electronics and Computer Technology Center.
Twardy, C.R. (2004). Argument maps improve critical thinking. Teaching Philosophy, 27, 95-116.
van Gelder, T., Bissett, M., & Cumming, G. (2004). Cultivating expertise in informal reasoning. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 58, 142-152.

10.  Collaborative, problem-based learning with the argument visualization software "AGORA-net"
Michael Hoffman , GA Tech

Since the 1980s, research on learning supports the educational superiority of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in student teams over traditional, lecture-based learning styles. Being challenged by a real-world problem that defies, based on its complexity, simplistic approaches increases student engagement, motivates deliberation, provides opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, stimulates creativity, and improves student-faculty interaction, communication and collaboration skills. The main problem is, however, that research also shows that PBL is effective only if collaboration in small groups of students—usually between 6 and 8 students—is supported and guided by an experienced facilitator. This makes problem-based learning very resource intensive. As a solution to this problem I will present the newly developed computer supported argument visualization software AGORA-net that guides and structures collaboration step-by-step without the need of facilitators ( AGORA-net is an interactive, completely web-based, and freely available learning tool that allows synchronous and asynchronous online collaboration. Although the software can be used for distance learning, in global classroom projects, and for public deliberation, the focus of this paper is on face-to-face learning in class. In this context the software’s online functionality is only important for allowing synchronous collaboration on the same “argument map” from students’ personal laptop computers. Besides presenting the AGORA software, I will outline the general design of a problem-based learning curriculum in which the software can be employed. This curriculum has been developed for engineering ethics and public policy classes, but it can be used in any class that tries to use logic and critical thinking for problem-based learning.

11. "Outreach as Impact: Teaching Philosophy in an Informal Setting," 
John Torrey, University of Memphis

Philosophy with children, using Matthew Lipman’s model of a “community of inquiry,” promotes a discussion-heavy, inquiry-based approach that is dynamic and has the students’ interests as fundamentally important for a class.  The philosophy outreach program at the University of Memphis, has adopted Lipman’s approach and this project will do two things – first, explain the theoretical considerations made in the development of the program and offer support for the use of philosophy with children’s general methodology in philosophy classrooms and beyond; second, explain the social and political considerations for doing pre-college philosophy explicitly with underrepresented groups in philosophy and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups within the city.  Ultimately, this paper aims to show why these efforts are beneficial for the discipline as a whole. 
Teaching philosophy at the pre-college level can help inform alternative, yet effective methods of doing philosophy with students of all ages.  With the growth of pre-college philosophy programs and growing interest in students’ critical thinking abilities, the instrumental value of philosophy has recently come into the forefront.  The experiences of many of my colleagues in outreach, as well as my own, have shown that educational institutions like what philosophy provides for their students, and students increasingly enjoy participating in philosophical inquiry.  This is in part due to the emphasis on avoiding the use of the “banking” model of education as conceived by Paulo Freire.  Rather than using the “banking” model of education, where information is fed to students with the hope of retention, the critique of this model from Freire (and philosophy for children more generally) demonstrates the theoretical commitments made in the service of teaching philosophy in this program. 
Our host city for outreach provides a unique opportunity to reach out to a largely underrepresented group in philosophy; socioeconomically underserved minorities.  The use of outreach programs can begin to bridge that gap to include more diverse voices in philosophical discussion.  As a way to generally improve the discipline of philosophy through increased diversity, our outreach program has made a political commitment to the ideals and usefulness of diversity.  This early introduction to philosophy makes the pursuit of the bachelor’s degree more of a possibility (given the competitive nature of the choices for college majors), increases critical thinking abilities and provides students with the skills to develop and critique arguments.  At a fundamental level, this approach endeavors to develop young philosophers with the hope that they mature into professional philosophers, or at the very least, philosophically-inclined adults.

12.  “Using Surveys in Philosophical Teaching and Research”
Nathan Nobis, Morehouse College

See conference booklet. 

13.  Title TBA:
Galen Foresman, NC A&T State University

See conference booklet.