Small Teaching, Big Ideas

James M. Lang, author of Small Teaching reminds us that teaching involves a feedback loop of constant improvement. His premise: small tweaks can make a big difference in student success. Here are a few of the simple, innovative ideas he proposes to enhance learning and retention. Retrieval Bookends: When you begin class, ask students: “What was […]

5 Ideas from 2017’s Best Educational Research

With the New Year approaching, and as we prepare to uncork the champagne to welcome 2018, let’s review some significant teaching and learning research findings from the past year. Inspired by Edutopia’s 2017 education research highlights, we’ve organized a list of ideas taken from several recent studies. Ask yourself if you are utilizing the latest evidence-based […]

Leading Effective Discussions

How can instructors ensure class discussions are effective? First, let’s define some characteristics of good discussions, and why they are valuable for learning. Discussions work best when students: Are interpreting concepts (and learning) from each other Are bridging the gap between instructor-speak and their own understanding Are engaging in active and thoughtful inquiry Can incorporate […]

Enhancing Student Success with High-Impact Practices (HIPs)

In case you missed it, here is a brief summary of CETL Director Brian Smentkowski’s workshop on High-Impact Practices. The AACU explains the problem in their HIPs overview: “On almost all campuses, utilization of active learning practices is unsystematic, to the detriment of student learning…”                     […]

Designing For Visual Learning

When thinking about ways to improve your course design, don’t underestimate the power of visuals. As we learn more about cognitive science, it’s becoming clear that visual learning should have a very significant role in instruction. There is some compelling evidence on the benefits of incorporating meaningful visuals to enhance learning. Educational studies show that we are “wired” to quickly comprehend and remember […]

Avoid These 5 Big Problems in Online Teaching

What are some of your biggest challenges with online teaching?  Here are some common problems that we hear about, and how you can easily avoid them. 1. The Absent Instructor. After all the upfront work required to prepare an online course, it can be tempting to let it run on “auto-pilot” once the semester starts. This is one of online students’ top complaints; they may feel isolated and alone in […]

Inspiring Student Learning: The Five C’s

Looking for tried-and-true ways to get your students motivated? Joe Ruhl has found some effective methods that will inspire new generations of students. He calls them the “Five C’s” and in a nutshell, he recommends these five easy-to-remember elements that you can integrate into your course design to help inspire student learning: Choice (e.g. a variety of different projects) Collaboration (teamwork) Communication – […]