Every other week during the academic year, we add new links to our resources page. They are listed in no particular order. To learn more about teaching and learning, just browse or search our list.

Course Design Toggle Accordion

The Cutting Edge Course Design Tutorial

Design your course, starting with learning objectives and working backwards to assignments and class activities that will help students achieve those objectives.

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A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning

According to Dee Fink, significant learning involves not only information, ideas, and critical thinking but also integration, self-knowledge, interests, values, and learning how to learn. He walks us through the steps of designing significant learning in a 37-page .pdf document. Worksheets included.

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A Learner-Centered Syllabus Helps Set the Tone for Learning.

So says Lolita Paff (Economics, Penn State Berks). Paff explains how she has moved away from a “contract” syllabus to one that sets a tone for “learning and intellectual development.”

Inclusion by Design: Survey Your Syllabus and Course Design

Ed Brantmeier et al. have created a comprehensive survey to help with designing an inclusive course.

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The First Day of Class Toggle Accordion

First Day of Class Activities That Create a Climate for Learning

Mary Ellen Weimer (author of Learner-Centered Teaching) lists “a few novel activities for using that first day of class to emphasize the importance of learning and the responsibility students share for shaping the classroom environment.”

Five Things to Do on the First Day of Class

Another offering from Mary Ellen Weimer, published by Faculty Focus.

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The First Day of Class

Barbara Gross Davis from the University of California, Berkeley, outlines “the three important tasks of the first day: handling administrative matters, creating an open friendly classroom environment, and setting course expectations and standards.” From her book Tools for Teaching.

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The Most Important Day

Delivee Wright from the University of Nebraska discusses anxiety, introductions, and expectations.

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The First Day of Class

Suggestions from the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching on creating an inviting classroom and clarifying responsibilities and expectations.

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Professional Development Toggle Accordion

Pedagogy Unbound

A repository for practical tips. Founded by David Gooblar (University of Iowa).

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Faculty Focus

If you subscribe, you get a regular infusion of helpful ideas. From Magna Publications.

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Chronicle of Higher Education

The ultimate guide to our profession. For teaching and learning, try features like On Course and ProfHackers.

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Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast

A new 30-to-40-minute episode every week, thanks to Bonni Stachowiak (Vanguard University).

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4 Steps to a Memorable Teaching Philosophy

From The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Class Discussion Toggle Accordion

Keeping Discussion Going through Questioning

More from Brookfield and Preskill on the kinds of questions that will draw answers rather than blank stares. Posted by the Stanford Center for Teaching and Learning.

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Using Class Discussion to Meet Your Teaching Goals

Want to help your students think like a specialist? Develop critical thinking skills? Develop problem-solving skills? Here are some strategies from Kelly McGonigal (Stanford University). Courtesy of the Stanford Center for Teaching and Learning.

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Rethinking Whole Class Discussion

Todd Finley (East Carolina University) offers lots of ideas for facilitating discussions with large groups. From edutopia.org.

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The Dreaded Discussion: Ten Ways to Start

Peter Frederick (Wabash College) suggests some simple exercises.

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Vocabulary Building Toggle Accordion

iPad Generation ‘Will Learn Fewer Words’ as Oral Tradition of Passing on Knowledge Is Dying out

Fiona Macrae, Mail Online, July 23, 2013.

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A New Way to Help Students Learn Course Vocabulary

Maryellen Weimer, From Faculty Focus.

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The Meaning Of Every Tenth Word Is Unknown

In 1999, Kathleen Gabriel estimated that, for students with poor vocabularies reading textbooks (and possibly even listening to lectures), “the meaning of every tenth word is unknown.” In her book Teaching Unprepared Students, pp. 110-14, she outlines a strategy for helping students build their vocabularies. The book is available in the CTL Library (Ferguson 108).

Vocabulary building?

There’s an app for that! Actually there are quite a few. Here are some suggestions from Inc.

The IDEA Survey Toggle Accordion

Laptops and Smart Phones in the Classroom Toggle Accordion

Deciding on a Classroom Technology Policy

In this 12-minute video, Amber Handy presents some of the research about classroom use of laptops and smart phones. The video is designed for teachers to show in class as a prelude to discussion in which the class would agree on a technology use policy. Two minutes in, we learn what our students with laptops are really doing in class. From the Kossen Center for Teaching and Learning, Mississippi University for Women.

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Digital Devices, Distraction, and Student Performance: Does In-Class Cell Phone Use Reduce Learning?

A study by Douglas A. Duncan, Angel R. Hoekstra, and Bethany L. Wilcox; University of Colorado, Boulder. AER 11 (2012).

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Laptop multitasking hinders classroom learning for both users and nearby peers.

A study by Faria Sana, Tina Weston, and Nicholas J. Cepeda. In Computers and Education 62 (2013): 24-31.

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Why We Can’t Look Away from Our Screens

A March 6, 2017 New York Times interview of social psychologist Adam Alter (Stern School of Business, New York University). By Claudia Dreifus. Alter is the author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked.

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Promoting Belonging, Resilience, and Persistence

Why We Must Balance Emotion and Intellect

John R. Swallow (Carthage College) says things like, “When I became a professor of mathematics at a residential college, I quickly learned that sometimes half of the work of teaching calculus to my students was reducing their anxiety.” From Inside HigherEd.

Harness the Power of Emotions to Help Your Students Learn

Flower Darby (Northern Arizona University) says things like, “You can make a big difference with a deliberate effort to be enthusiastic, positive, and optimistic about your students’ success.” Also, “Smile. Make eye contact. Empathize with your students.” From Faculty Focus.

Facing Anxiety

In this 7.5-minute video, five college students explain how they cope and what they want professors to know. From the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Three Miles

It’s not that far. Or is it? From “This American Life.”

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It’s Not Enough for Working-Class Kids to Get into College

By Nick Morrison. “The problem lies not so much in whether they can afford to study at university but in how they feel when they are there.” Published February 26, 2017 by Forbes.

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Promoting Inclusion and Identity Safety to Support College Success

By Mary Murphy and Mesmin Destin. This 2016 report begins with observations from Michelle Obama and Sonia Sotomayor. From The Century Foundation.

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The Growing College Graduation Gap

David Leonhardt (New York Times, March 25) reviews some statistics, comments on federal policy, and promises more articles to come.

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A Trip to the Grocery Store

Joy DeGruy’s story illustrates the effects of stereotype threat and microaggressions as well as the difference that allies can make. From crackingthecodes.org.

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Why Student Loan Debt Harms Low-Income Students the Most

What happens to low-income students who take out loans and then don’t (or do) graduate. By Maggie Thompson, for talkpoverty.org.

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It’s Hard to Be Hungry on Spring Break

Just one more example of how college wasn’t designed for students who can’t afford to go away for a week. By Anthony Abraham Jack, New York Times, March 17, 2018.

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The psychology behind Kathleen Gabriel’s teaching philosophy. It’s a game-changer. From Stanford’s Carol Dweck.

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Transparent Methods

Many students come to college with very little knowledge of how college works. We, who know quite a lot about how college works, sometimes forget to explain it to them. Mary-Ann Winkelmes (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) shares some strategies for how we can be more transparent about what we’re doing and why.

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The Science of Learning Toggle Accordion

Incorporating Principles in Cognitive Psychology to Improve Student Learning

In this article, Christopher Grabau reviews methods to help students retain, retrieve, and sustain what they have learned.

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Small Teaching

In this book, James Lang offers even more tips for enhancing student learning, understanding, and motivation. Coming soon to the Albion College CTL library.

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Exams Toggle Accordion

Getting More out of Exam Debriefs

Two strategies to help students (and teachers!) learn about what went wrong on an exam. Mary Ellen Weimer shares them in this Faculty Focus article.

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Learner-Centered Teaching Toggle Accordion

Five Characteristics of Learner-Centered Teaching

Maryellen Weimer stresses active learning, explicit skill instruction, meta-cognition, student agency, and collaboration. Her book Learner-Centered Teaching is available in the CTL Library. You can find the first edition in the Albion College library.

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Active and Experimental Learning

Some classroom strategies and design guidelines from the Yale University Center for Teaching and Learning.

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Basic Active Learning Strategies

Twenty-three active learning strategies: why and how to use them. From the University of Minnesota Center for Educational Innovation.

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Ideas and strategies for classroom role-play. From the Kendall College Center for Teaching and Learning.

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All about activity-based learning. From The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University.

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Using Active Learning Instructional Strategies to Create Excitement and Enhance Learning

Jim Eison (University of South Florida) explains active learning, argues for its utility, and (starting on p. 6) gives some practical tips about transforming traditional lectures into interactive lectures.

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Active Learning: An Introduction

More tips from Richard M. Felder (University of North Carolina) and Rebecca Brent (Education Designs, Inc.).

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Fostering Integrative Learning through Pedagogy

Richard A. Gale (The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Learning) focuses on seminars, problem-based learning, emergent learning (that is, learning based on current events or critical issues), learning communities, and student portfolios.

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