PACT is a visual editor in which learning objects in a curriculum can be viewed, manipulated, and annotated with references to pedagogical patterns. Naïve users can explore well-designed, well-annotated courses to better inform their own design process.
Getting Started with PACT
We seek to significantly expand the community of users working with PACT and developing curricula in the system. If you would like to get started with PACT, please contact Andy Carle (acarle at cs.berkeley.edu). The PACT release and source code are available below. We are currently building up a repository of PACT pattern-annotated courses to share with instructors who wish to adopt learner-centered and inquiry-driven pedagogical styles. We would love to have your courses as a part of this repository.
The PACT code is frequently updated with new features based on feedback from the user community. Again, please contact Andy Carle if you would like to work with PACT, so that we can keep you informed of these changes and address any feature additions you would like to see.
A great deal has changed about the way we think about pedagogy since the early 20th century. Unfortunately, most of today’s university classrooms appear much the same as they did a century ago: a sea of students listening intently to a single source of information: the mouth of an instructor. Presentation mediums have changed (the lecturer now has the graceful option of hiding in the dark while speaking) but the basic modality of the student remains the same. Environments like these stand in stark contrast against modern recommendations from the learning sciences: learner-centered milieus in which the focus of attention is on the student and the emphasis is on learning as an active process.
Instructors must master the creation of a wide variety of active content to successfully craft a learner-centered environment. Such content engages the learner in a spectrum of learning activities that complement each other and carefully develop the student’s understanding. The problem is, the majority of instructors don’t know how to create, maintain, and teach within a learner-centered environment. In fast, most have never even seen a learnercentered course from the “audience.” Most of today’s instructors were trained in typical lecture-style classes for most of their undergraduate (and significant pieces of their graduate) schooling. The flow of activities and role of the instructor in a learner-centered course are alien to potential adopters of these systems and techniques. To further exacerbate the problem, the few instructors who are comfortable with learner-centered course design typically find it difficult to have a lasting impact on curriculum. The standard “coordination” between instructors at many institutions ends at the handoff of lecture notes, exercises, and exams – artifacts that are clearly insufficient to express the rationale behind elements of a learner-centered course.
PACT–A Pattern-Annotated Course Tool–is designed to bridge the gap between these two approaches. The key innovation of PACT is its focus on pattern-annotated courses that connect the abstract ideals of pedagogical patterns to learning environments that exemplify these principles in concrete instances. Instructors can see learner-centered courses designed by experts along with the patterns that have guided their design. It provides a tangible representation from which instructors can proceed to deeper understanding of the theory and application of patterns and principles. And it serves as a practical tool to expedite the organization and re-use of course content.
Experiment with PACT
Learn how to use PACT (slightly outdated -- update coming soon)
Andy Carle – acarle at cs berkeley edu
Michael Clancy -- clancy at cs berkeley edu
John Canny – jfc at cs berkeley edu