Pedagogy

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 […]

Educating Generation Z

Consider the characteristics of Gen Z students coming into your classes, comfortable in their digital world, and ready to fully engage online to prepare for their future career. Are your courses providing the kinds of experiences, projects, and skills-based practice that will motivate and challenge these students? Or are you playing it safe with old-school lecture and testing? Taking risks […]

What is academic rigor?

Academic rigor is something we hear thrown around with other educational buzzwords, but not often defined. What does it mean in a practical sense? Rigor is not just about giving harder tests, assigning more homework, or providing extra credit for overachievers. Academic rigor is about creating challenging, engaging, and engrossing lessons that encourage each student to think in new ways. Dr. Robyn Jackson, an educational author and speaker, breaks it down into […]

Improve Lectures With Stories

With Summer here, and light at the end of the tunnel, maybe there’s time to think about course improvements for Fall. With better lectures, you can enhance both online and face-to-face courses. Here are 3 easy ways to make your lectures more effective and memorable: Improve lectures with personal stories: Humans are wired to hear and remember stories. Adding your own personal anecdotes […]

No Syllabus Needed

Imagine a course with no syllabus, where students run the class, create their own learning projects, and, essentially determine their own outcomes. What would that look like? For University of Idaho Business majors, it looks like the “Vandal Solutions” course. Students enroll and run the class as an actual business. They hire and train student employees and managers. They determine the viability of project proposals, […]