Bryan M. Carson

Professor; Coordinator of Research Instruction, Grants, & Assessment
Western Kentucky University Libraries

906 Cravens Library, 1906 College Heights Blvd. #11067 Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101-1067
Phone: 270-745-5007; Fax: 270-745-2275; E-mail: bryan.carson@wku.edu

 

Philosophy of Pedagogy

I believe that the teacher and the student both must work together to ensure success. Most students are in school to learn, but not every instructor is there to help facilitate student learning. It is my responsibility to ensure that every learner has the necessary resources to succeed in their education. Some students may need extra help grasping the material. But it is my fault as the instructor if the student truly wants to learn but is unable to succeed.


I believe in teaching higher-order thinking skills. Bloom’s Taxonomy contains six categories, namely: (1) knowledge, (2) comprehension, (3) application, (4) analysis, (5) synthesis, and (6) evaluation. While broad overviews strive for knowledge or comprehension, a good instructor will push their students to use application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Teaching these higher-level skills helps students to transfer information to other classes or into the workplace.


While teaching classes for the Library Media Education and Instructional Design programs, I helped my students to learn by using what were at the time innovative methods such as “flipping the classroom.” Between 2000 and 2003, I taught nine Library Media Education classes. I also created a new graduate online course under contract with the Office of Distance Learning, Legal & Ethical Issues in Instructional Design (ID 580), and taught it Spring Semester 2010. ID 580 is the only class at WKU that devotes a substantial amount of time to intellectual property, and was one of the first online classes in the U.S. dealing with intellectual property and cyber-ethics.


My position as Coordinator of Research Instruction, Grants, & Assessment at WKU Libraries involves oversight, evaluation, and policy planning for research instruction and orientation. In August 2008, I initiated and directed WKU Libraries’ overhaul of its basic information curriculum for teaching students to find and evaluate scholarly resources. I pioneered “flipping the classroom” technologies such as podcast audio tours of the library. I interact with academic programs through individual research appointments, guest lectures in research-intensive classes, supporting new courses with information resources, and working with faculty to help create library assignments.


I am a generalist whose knowledge crosses disciplinary boundaries. As a full professor in WKU’s Department of Library Public Services, I work in one of the last truly interdisciplinary fields. Yet I have specific credentials, with a J.D. in law, an Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership & Policy, and a Master’s in Library Science. I have taken 18 graduate hours in sociology, 18 in political/public policy, and 90 in law. Since being hired at WKU, I have worked with faculty and students in multiple disciplines, including sociology, paralegal, political science, philosophy, religion, library media education, leadership studies, and instructional design. As a faculty member in the library, I must not only to know the sources and materials, but also to have a broad understanding of current theories and the state of knowledge in each of my assigned disciplines, while still being able to help scholars from any discipline find the materials they need to support their research.


This interdisciplinary approach underlies and informs my philosophy of pedagogy. Student learning does not just happen in small silos. By showing connections between disciplines, I am able to help students understand the relevance of their coursework. By teaching for transfer, I help students learn how information from one course may be useful in other settings. It is my obligation as an instructor to ensure that students have the tools they need to learn. But it is also my responsibility to help develop higher-order thinking skills, so that students will analyze, evaluate, and synthesize. This is what I can do for the student as an instructor.