Teaching Tool Box
- Planning Your Course
- Front Matter and Designing Your Syllabus
- Using Class Time Well
- The First Day of Class
- Assessing Student Learning
- Teaching Strategies
- Office Hours
- Getting Students to Read
- Critical Thinking
- Classroom Environment
- Inclusive Teaching
- Potential Student Challenges
- Best Practices
- Learners and Learning
- Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
- Teaching Philosophies and Portfolios
Essay from Barr and Tagg who share what the shift from a teaching paradigm to a learning paradigm means for teaching and learning in higher education.
L. Dee Fink’s authored Idea Paper including a Model of Integrated Course Design, a Taxonomy of Significant Learning, and Learning Activities for a Holistic View of Active Learning.
Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching guide on Backward Design, including an overview, the benefits, and a template.
Levels of learning according to Bloom's Taxonomy of learning, including verbs and question types.
A worksheet designed to help think through the alignment of course goals, evidence of learning, and teaching/learning activities in the course.
Resources related to creating assignments, and checklists and considerations for designing assignments.
University of Louisville syllabus guidelines, including policies by school/unit, samples, and content guidelines.
Aaron Richmond gives an overview of learning-centered syllabi, examples, suggestions for constructing, and a self-assessment of your learning-centered syllabus,
Example template of a lesson plan to outline an individual class.
Checklist to help think through your lesson plan.
What should a lesson plan include? How to arrange subtopics? How to use feedback? How to revise a lesson? How to maximize class time? This resource responds to all these questions and includes examples.
A full PDF from the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence from Pennsylvania State University to help you think through each step of planning a class session in detail.
Joyce T. Povlacs (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Teaching and Learning Center) shares a list of "things to do" to promote a positive classroom environment and support student learning.
Post from Faculty Focus sharing activities for the first day, and including many comments with suggested activities, as well.
Carnegie Mellon Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation includes a great overview of how to make the most of the first day of class, including information about first impressions, introductions, clarifying learning objectives and expectations, helping students learn about each other, setting the tone for the course, collecting baseline data on students’ knowledge and motivation, engaging students in the course content, and informing students of course requirements.
Matrix of Classroom Assessment Techniques of student learning, including purposes, descriptions, pros/cons, and how to use the feedback.
Full book of Classroom Assessment Techniques, with full details, indexed by purpose.
Yale Center for Teaching and Learning overview of formative and summative assessment, as well as useful recommendations for how to best use them.
Tips for preparing and presenting a lecture, specifically for clinical/medical education. Originally published as a strategy paper from the Johns Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics (JHPIEGO).
This resource from Ferris State presents eight steps to active learning, and further discusses each one using examples and classroom activities instructors can incorporate into their lectures. Concludes with a list of final tips for active lecturing.
Given that students have an attention span of around 15 to 20 minutes and that university classes are scheduled for around 50 or 75 minutes, the authors recommend building a “change-up” into your class to restart the attention clock. Includes several activities instructors can use to punctuate sections of lecture.
(Derek Bok Center, Harvard University)
This handout graphically represents the relative complexity of different active learning techniques. It also provides brief descriptions for each of the activities on the continuum.
Arthur F. Thurnau Professorships are awarded annually to tenured U-M faculty who have made outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. This series of videos documents the ways in which these professors stimulate student engagement in their courses. There are also summary point pages that provide easy to follow strategies.
This article presents a wide variety of active learning techniques that can increase student learning in a lecture course. Activities include listening, group, and writing exercises that foster student engagement.
Actively engaging students motivates deeper thinking about course content, brings additional energy to a classroom, and helps an instructor pin point problem areas. This article provides summaries of current practices and gives practical suggestions for implementing active learning in a variety of disciplines. Topics covered include: Questioning techniques, small groups, whole class involvement, and reading & writing exercises.
This study examines the evidence for the effectiveness of active learning. It provides a definition of active learning and explores the different types of active learning most frequently discussed in engineering education literature. Those outside of engineering will likewise find this source helpful in providing concise definitions, literature review, and valuable questions that will promote instructor’s understanding of active learning.
This paper is concerned with the answering and asking of questions in college-level courses. It makes suggestions regarding questioning techniques that are appropriate for lecture classes as well as for discussion groups.
Using Discussion Questions Effectively (CRLT)
Strategies for encouraging student engagement and critical thinking through effective questioning.
Explores the strengths and weaknesses of discussion approaches, and suggests 18 recommendations for improving discussion in college courses.
This document provides solutions to several common questions about leading discussions, including how to keep conversations flowing, and how to handle “discussion monopolizers.”
Listing of ten ways to start a discussion, adapted from Frederick’s article in Improving College and University Teaching.
Handling controversial topics and heated discussions can be stressful and difficult. However, controversy can be a powerful tool to promote learning. This article offers instructors practical strategies for turning difficult encounters into learning opportunities.
This document discusses the characteristics of controversial issues and benefits of addressing them in the classroom; also includes strategies for discussing controversial issues.
Brookfield, S. D., & Preskill, S. (1999). Discussion as a way of teaching: Tools and techniques for democratic classrooms. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Christensen, C. R., Garvin, D.A., & Sweet, A. (1991). Education for judgment: The artistry of discussion leadership. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
(Penn State, Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence).Summary
CRLT Occasional Paper on Using Teams
This summary of the research covers topics such as designing effective team assignments, forming teams, and assessing student teams. The paper includes numerous examples from U-M faculty. While it is focused on STEM classrooms, the practical advice it contains is relevant to any instructor considering the use of groups or teams
A comprehensive list of resources on the effectiveness of cooperative learning, group work, teamwork, and best practices. Many of the articles are available to U-M faculty and GSI
Introductory science laboratories in the university setting often have to rely on the utilization of groups to efficiently use resources that are available. Includes ideas for group work by the students, with small group-instructor interaction, as an effective way to present material in the introductory laboratory.
Carnegie Mellon University's Eberly Center offers a wealth of tools for creating, monitoring, and assessing groups during group projects.
Outlines suggestions for using collaborative tasks to accomplish course goals, including advice on how to avoid potential problems; also includes a brief bibliography on cooperative learning.
Outlines procedures and strategies for forming groups and designing effective assignments for them.
Barkley, E.F., Cross, K.P., & Major, C.H. (2004). Collaborative learning techniques: A handbook for college faculty. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Bouton, C., & Garth, R.Y. (1983). Learning in groups. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Goodsell, A.S. (1992). Collaborative learning: A sourcebook for higher education. University Park, PA: National Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment.
Michaelsen, L. K., Knight, A. B., & Fink, L. D. (Eds.) (2004). Team-based learning: A transformative use of small groups in college teaching. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
Kloss, R.J. (1994). A nudge is best: Helping students though the Perry scheme of intellectual development. William Paterson College, http://dhc.ucdavis.edu/fh/ct/kloss.html.
Nosich, G.M. (2008). Learning to think things through: A guide to critical thinking across the curriculum (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2001a). Critical thinking: Tools for taking charge of your learning and your life. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2006). Miniature guide to critical thinking concepts & tools. Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking.
Student Goal Orientation, Motivation, and Learning Idea Paper
Andragogy and Pedagogy for Motivation Handout
(primarily directed at K-12, but still useful). Summary
Motivation benefits, methods of addressing, techniques with associated examples, and strong reference list from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
John Seely Brown video clip from Edutopia about motivating students
Stanford Speaking of Teaching paper on
Dr. Marilla Svinicki’s Idea Center paper on goal orientation, motivation and learning.
Excellent wiki on from Shiang-Kwei Wang of the Department of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology, University of Georgia.
List of six suggestion to help make lecturing to a large enrollment course effective and managable for students and instructors.
Short first-person account from an introductory biology course with a class enrollment of about 300 who shares some of his techniques for engaging the class.
Detailed resource from University of Maryland for approaching large classes, including a set of ideas and suggestions to use. This guide offers tips for utilizing many of the teaching strategies described on the CRLT website (e.g., collaborative learning, discussions, writing) with large classes.
Resource from the Science Education Resource Center at Carlton College describing interactive lecturing, why you might consider using it, and specific interactive activities for classroom use. Also includes a list of classroom examples, demonstrations, and references.
Literature review compiled by CRLT staff in December 2014, summarizing findings from the literature regarding the impact of class size on student performance.
Amundsen, M. (1994). Engaging students in the large class: A presentation of Brigham Young University Faculty Center. Santa Monica, CA: Pyramid Film and Video (Videotape). Ekstrom Library Media Center (2nd floor).
Stanley, C. A., & Porter, M. E. (Eds.) (2002). Engaging large classes: Strategies and techniques for college faculty. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.
(University of Maryland, Center for Teaching Excellence).
Weimer, M. (1987). Teaching large classes well. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
STUDIO or ONE-ON-ONE CLASSES
LABORATORY, CLINICAL AND STEM TEACHING
This document lists specific strategies for fostering four dimensions of inclusive teaching. Instructors can use it to reflect upon practices they already use or might adopt.
This webpage provides an overview of the kinds of evidence that demonstrate inclusive teaching practices can benefit all students' learning.
This document suggests concrete practices for intentionally establishing an inclusive learning environment in any discipline.
This CRLT paper discusses the range of elements that contribute to an inclusive classroom learning environment.
Summary (from the University of Michigan Center for Research on Teaching and Learning)
Adams, M., Bell, L. A., Griffin, P. (Eds.) (1997). Teaching for diversity and social justice: A sourcebook. New York: Routledge.
Kaplan, M., & Miller, A. T. (Eds.) (2007). Scholarship of Multicultural Teaching and Learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 111.
Mayberry, K. J. (Ed.) (1996). Teaching what you’re not: Identity politics in higher education. New York, NY: University Press.
Morey, A. I., & Kitano, M. K. (Eds.) (1997). Multicultural course transformation in higher education: A broader truth. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Teaching American students: A guide for international faculty and teaching assistants in colleges and universities (1997). Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning: Harvard University.
Ko, S., Rossen, S. (2008). Teaching Online: A Practical Guide. Boston, MA; New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin.
(Module 5 of Getting Results, an online course for instructors on course development, funded by the National Science Foundation, produced by WGBH in Boston and The League for Innovation).
Technology Introduction Matrix
(Built for K-12, but effective rubric for higher education instruction)
White, K.W., & Weight, B.H. (2000). The online teaching guide: A handbook of attitudes, strategies and techniques for the virtual classroom. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
STUDENTS IN DISTRESS
DISRUPTIVE CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR
Reducing Incivility in the University/College Classroom
Incivility in the classroom is offensive, intimidating, or hostile behavior that interferes with students’ ability to learn and with instructors’ ability to teach. This paper identifies factors contributing to uncivil interactions in the classroom and provides practical strategies designed to avoid or diffuse such conflicts.
This paper reviews academic literature focusing on disrespect and disruptions in the classroom and explores strategies for preventing and managing student incivility.
The Office of Faculty and Organizational Development at Michigan State University provides a number of resources for exploring issues around classroom conflict and strategies for dealing with incivility in the classroom.
This article by U-M faculty members Mark Chesler and Alford A. Young, Jr., highlights the important roles social identity factors such as race and gender play in shaping students' responses to their instructors. They discuss the greater likelihood that faculty of color as well as white women faculty will experience disrespectful behavior from their students, particularly challenges to their classroom authority and competence, and offer some suggestions for practice -- for those faculty members as well as their colleagues.
CRLT developed this brief handout to offer instructors ways to make the most of "hot moments" as learning opportunities. It includes specific strategies to prepare for, respond to, and follow up after eruptions of tension or conflict in the classroom.
The challenges of dealing with “hot moments” are 1) to manage ourselves so as to make them useful and 2) to find the teaching opportunities to help students learn in and from the moment. This resource suggests tips for instructors faced with hot moments in the classroom.
The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) routinely develops guidelines to help instructors facilitate classroom discussion when controversial or tragic incidents become foremost in students' minds. Topics include Affirmative Action, the War in Iraq, and Racial Conflict, among others.
Classroom Management Strategies Handout
Landis, K. (Ed.) (2008). Start talking: A handbook for engaging difficult dialogues in higher education. Anchorage, AK: University Press.
(University of North Carolina, Center for Teaching and Learning). Summary
LEGAL AND ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Deborah Meizlich. (Occasional Paper #20, 2005, University of Michigan, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching).
Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Chickering, A.W., & Gamson, Z.F. (1991). Applying the seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Brinkley, A. (1999). The Chicago handbook for teachers: A practical guide to the college classroom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Dominowski, R.L. (2002). Teaching undergraduates. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum Associates.
Erickson, B. L., Peters, C. B., Strommer, D. W. (2006). Teaching first-year college students. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Knight, P. (2002). Being a teacher in higher education. Buckingham, PA: Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press.
Lieberg, C. (2008). Teaching Your First College Class: A Practical Guide for New Faculty and Graduate Student Instructors. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
McKeachie, W. J. & Svinicki, M. (Eds.) (2006). McKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research and theory of college and university teachers(12th ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
Miller, W. and Miller, M. (1997). Handbook for college teaching. Sautee-Nacoochee, GA: Pinecrest Publications.
Davis, B. (2009). Tools for Teaching (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Magolda, M. B. (Ed.) (2000). Teaching to promote intellectual and personal maturity: Incorporating students’ worldviews and identities into the learning process. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Merriam, S.B., Caffarella, R.S., & Baumgartner, L.M. (2006). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (Jossey-Bass Higher & Adult Education Series) (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Weimer, M. (2002). Learner-centered teaching: Five key changes to practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Overview of Learning Theories
Learning Theory Map
How Learning Works Summary
PowerPoint presentation from advisors at UCSC giving a good overview as well as critique of student development theories.
McKinney, K. (2007). Enhancing learning through the scholarship of teaching and learning: The challenges and joys of juggling. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.