Mark Higbee reports in his chapter on his use of an innovative pedagogy, Reacting to the Past, at Eastern Michigan University. The Reacting method was originally developed at Barnard College; Mark’s chapter reveals the challenges of adapting this approach to a regional comprehensive university with a diverse student body. But more than that, Mark’s chapter is about the opportunities associated with using this pedagogy here at EMU. The levels of student engagement produced through students’ “playing” these elaborate games are quite impressive and, as Mark notes, very much needed in the EMU context.

One of the things I particularly like about this chapter is the wide range of evidence Mark uses. Like the historian he is, Mark eaves together different bits of data – his own observation, student surveys, written comments on course evaluations, quantitative data – to tell a compelling story of student learning. Mark has written a paper on student learning that will inform teachers of history, teachers of other subjects, and higher education administrators. He sketches out a model not just for teaching history, but for designing meaningful learning across the university curriculum. All that – and it also looks like a really fun time for the students!