Teaching Tool Box

  1. Planning Your Course
  2. Front Matter and Designing Your Syllabus
  3. Using Class Time Well
  4. The First Day of Class
  5. Assessing Student Learning
  6. Teaching Strategies
  7. Office Hours
  8. Getting Students to Read
  9. Critical Thinking
  10. Classroom Environment
  11. Inclusive Teaching
  12. Technology
  13. Potential Student Challenges
  14. Best Practices
  15. Learners and Learning
  16. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  17. Teaching Philosophies and Portfolios



From Teaching to Learning, A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education

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.

Integrated Course Design Idea Paper

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.

Understanding By Design

Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching guide on Backward Design, including an overview, the benefits, and a template.

Blooms Taxonomy Handout

Levels of learning according to Bloom's Taxonomy of learning, including verbs and question types. 

Course Alignment Map Template

A worksheet designed to help think through the alignment of course goals, evidence of learning, and teaching/learning activities in the course. 

Designing Assignments Resources Sheet 

Resources related to creating assignments, and checklists and considerations for designing assignments. 



Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning Syllabus Guidelines

University of Louisville syllabus guidelines, including policies by school/unit, samples, and content guidelines.

Idea Paper Learning Centered Syllabus

Aaron Richmond gives an overview of learning-centered syllabi, examples, suggestions for constructing, and a self-assessment of your learning-centered syllabus, 



Lesson Planning Template

Example template of a lesson plan to outline an individual class. 

Lesson Planning Checklist

Checklist to help think through your lesson plan. 

Planning a Learning Session

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. 

Planning a Class Session

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. 



101 Things You Can Do the First Three Weeks of Class

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. 

First Day of Class Activities that Create a Climate for Learning

Post from Faculty Focus sharing activities for the first day, and including many comments with suggested activities, as well. 

Making the Most of the First Day of Class

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.

 How to Teach a Good First Day of Class

The first day of class is crucial both for your students and for you. This guide will help you make opening day as effective as possible.


Classroom Assessment Techniques

Matrix of Classroom Assessment Techniques of student learning, including purposes, descriptions, pros/cons, and how to use the feedback. 

Angelo, T. A., & Cross, P. K. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Full book of Classroom Assessment Techniques, with full details, indexed by purpose. 

Formative and Summative Assessment Overview and Resources

Yale Center for Teaching and Learning overview of formative and summative assessment, as well as useful recommendations for how to best use them.

Good Practices in Grading  (from the Berkeley GSI Teaching and Resource Center)


Best Practices in Summative Assessment Article


Grading Student Writing Article


Best Practices for Designing and Grading Exams


Effective Quizzes, Tests, Exams


Grading Student Work Handout


Improving Multiple-Choice Tests

Victoria L. Clegg and William E. Cashin, Kansas State University. (IDEA Paper No. 16, Kansas State University, September 1986).

Testing Guidelines from Stanford University





Delivering Effective Lectures (Sullivan & McIntosh, 1996)

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).

Eight Steps to Active Lecturing

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.

The "Change-Up" in Lectures (Middendorf & Kalish, 1996)

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.

Tips for Teachers: Twenty Ways to Make Lectures More Participatory 

(Derek Bok Center, Harvard University)

 (from the University of Michigan Center for Research on Teaching and Learning)



Active Learning Resources from the Teaching Innovation Learning Lab

Active Learning Continuum

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.

Videos of Arthur F. Thurnau Professors: Engaging Students in the Classroom and Beyond

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.

Active Learning for the College Classroom (Paulson and Faust, California State University, Los Angeles, 1998)

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.

Classroom Activities for Active Learning (Center for Faculty Excellence, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2009)

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.

Does Active Learning Work?  A Review of the Research (Prince, 2004)

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.

(from the University of Michigan Center for Research on Teaching and Learning)

Scenes from a Classroom: Making Active Learning Work

(University of Minnesota, Center for Teaching and Learning Services).



Asking more Effective Questions


Questioning Strategies


IDEA Paper #31: Answering and Asking Questions (IDEA Center, Cashin, 1995)

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. 

IDEA Paper #49: Effective Classroom Discussions (IDEA Center, Cashin, 2011)   

Explores the strengths and weaknesses of discussion approaches, and suggests 18 recommendations for improving discussion in college courses.

FAQs: Leading Discussions (Middendorf et al., 2010)

This document provides solutions to several common questions about leading discussions, including how to keep conversations flowing, and how to handle “discussion monopolizers.”

The Dreaded Discussion: Ten Ways to Start (Frederick, 1981)

Listing of ten ways to start a discussion, adapted from Frederick’s article in Improving College and University Teaching.

Managing Hot Moments in the Classroom(Warren, 2000)

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.

Why Teach Controversial Issues? (Flinders University, Australia)

This document discusses the characteristics of controversial issues and benefits of addressing them in the classroom; also includes strategies for discussing controversial issues.

(from the University of Michigan Center for Research on Teaching and Learning)

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. 

Discussion in the Classroom

(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

CRLT Bibliography on Cooperative Learning, Group Work, and Teamwork

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

Group Work in an Introductory Science Laboratory (Cooper, from Guidebook for Teaching Labs for University of Michigan

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.

Using Group Projects Effectively

Carnegie Mellon University's Eberly Center offers a wealth of tools for creating, monitoring, and assessing groups during group projects. 

Facilitating Small Groups: Elements of a Teaching Plan (Stanford University, 1999)

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.

Cooperative Learning: Students Working in Small Groups (Stanford University, 1999)

Outlines procedures and strategies for forming groups and designing effective assignments for them.

(from the University of Michigan Center for Research on Teaching and Learning)

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.




Tips on Making the Most of Office Hours


Office Hours and Email


Learning and Teaching During Office Hours




Getting Students to Read Idea Paper




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


Motivation overview from the American Psychological Association

(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


Capturing and Directing the Motivation to Learn

Stanford Speaking of Teaching paper on


Dr. Marilla Svinicki’s Idea Center paper on goal orientation, motivation and learning.


Motivation: A General Overview of Theories

Excellent wiki on from Shiang-Kwei Wang of the Department of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology, University of Georgia.



Suggestions for Large Lecture Classes (UC Berkeley, 1983)

List of six suggestion to help make lecturing to a large enrollment course effective and managable for students and instructors. 

Tips for Using Questions in Large Classes (Klionsky, 1999)

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.

Large Classes: A Teaching Guide

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.

Resources for Interactive Lecturing (Macdonald & Teed)

 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.

Class Size Effects on Student Performance

Literature review compiled by CRLT staff in December 2014, summarizing findings from the literature regarding the impact of class size on student performance.

(from the University of Michigan Center for Research on Teaching and Learning)

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.

Teaching Large Classes

(University of Maryland, Center for Teaching Excellence).

Weimer, M. (1987).  Teaching large classes well.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 







http://gsi.berkeley.edu/media/Labs.pdf (from the Berkeley GSI Teaching and Resource Center)

Teaching Laboratory Classes


Clinical Teaching


Lab Teaching




Evidence-Based Simulation for Nursing


Clinical Instruction in Prelicensure Nursing Programs


Systematic Review of Studies of Nursing Education Outcomes: An Evolving Review


Clinical Nursing Education: Current Reflections


Applying Science of Learning in Education: Infusing Psychological Science into the Curriculum (2014) (E-book)


Faculty Development When Initiating Simulation Programs: Lessons Learned From the National Simulation Study


Instructional Methods in Health Professions Education


An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching, CIRTL Massive Open Online Courses




Study Skills for Students




Framework and Strategies for Inclusive 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.

The Research Basis for Inclusive Teaching

 This webpage provides an overview of the kinds of evidence that demonstrate inclusive teaching practices can benefit all students' learning.

Setting the Tone for Inclusion

 This document suggests concrete practices for intentionally establishing an inclusive learning environment in any discipline.

Creating Inclusive Classrooms

 This CRLT paper discusses the range of elements that contribute to an inclusive classroom learning environment.

Inclusive Teaching Strategies from Cornell University Center for Teaching Excellence


Teaching International Students



Language and Teaching Resources for International GSIs


Teaching Students Who Have Disabilities


Teaching in the Disciplines

Summary (from the University of Michigan Center for Research on Teaching and Learning)

50 Essential Resources for ESL Students


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.



100 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom, by Degree of Difficulty (Edudemic)


Ko, S., Rossen, S. (2008). Teaching Online: A Practical Guide. Boston, MA; New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin.

Personal Learning Networks for Educators: 10 Tips


Teaching with Technology

(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. 

 Resources for Teaching in the ChatGPT Era

A list of resources compiled by the UofL Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning about teaching in the ChatGPT era.

AI and the Teaching of Writing

Resource from the University of Pittsburg 

Cornell Center for Teaching Innovation: Generative Artificial Intelligence

Cornell's Center for Teaching Innovation gives a good overview of Generative AI and its pedagogical implications, along with some resources related to AI and academic integrity, accessibility, ethics, and assignment design. 






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.

Understanding Student and Faculty Incivility in Higher Education

This paper reviews academic literature focusing on disrespect and disruptions in the classroom and explores strategies for preventing and managing student incivility.

Civility/Incivility in the College Classroom

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.

Faculty Members' Social Identities and Classroom Authority

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.

Preventing Student-Student Disrespect in your Classroom: Some Strategies


Making the Most of Hot Moments in the Classroom (CRLT)

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. 

Managing Hot Moments in the Classroom (Warren, 2000)

 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.

CRLT Discussion Guidelines

 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.

Managing Classroom Conflict

(University of North Carolina, Center for Teaching and Learning). Summary


Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The Writing Program Administrators (WPA) Statement on Best Practices


Promoting Academic Integrity in the Classroom

 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. 

Glossary of Instructional Strategies


Vanderbilt Center for Teaching


Center for Research on Learning and Teaching


Berkeley Graduate Student Instructor Teaching & Resource Center


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.

Honolulu Hawaii List of Teaching Tips


Glossary of Instructional Strategies




Donovan, S. M., Bransford, J. D., & Pellegrino, J.W. (Eds.) (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press. 

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

Student Development Theory in a Nutshell

PowerPoint presentation from advisors at UCSC giving a good overview as well as critique of student development theories.

Student Development Theory Cheat Sheet




McKinney, K. (2007). Enhancing learning through the scholarship of teaching and learning: The challenges and joys of juggling. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 



Writing Your Teaching Philosophy White Paper


Philosophy of Teaching Statements: Examples and Tips on How to Write a Teaching Philosophy Statement


Teaching Philosophy Template


The Teaching Portfolio