Interpretation as Staging: A Lesson in Dramatic Literature

by Jordan Greenwald, Comparative Literature
I…came to realize that this lesson could not be learned through class discussion alone, since asking these questions while leading discussion is pedagogically less effective than getting students to ask those questions themselves. I therefore decided, with the encouragement of my co-instructor, to design a group assignment that would familiarize students with the choices one makes when bringing a dramatic text to life.

Empowered Learning: History, Collaboratively

by Jesse Cordes Selbin, English
I believe that education functions best when students are not merely passive recipients, but collaborative creators, of knowledge. To that end, I designed an ongoing assignment wherein students used online software to contribute to a collective historical timeline of the nineteenth century…The function of the timeline was primarily informational: it was intended to give a deeper understanding of a historical era. But its crucial secondary function was to ask students to reconceptualize their own role as creators and perpetrators of historical narrative.

Help Them Help Themselves!

by Nicholas Knight, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
I knew it would be completely infeasible to teach half of the class how to program during office hours or via a forum. So for the first homework, I designed teams that each had a member with computer programming experience. As a result, every team completed the assignment, and the collaborative write-up ensured that each team member understood the material, even if one team member did the majority of the programming. I was explicit with the class about our strategy to combine programmers and non-programmers.

Consensus Techniques for Learning Together

by Genevieve Painter, Legal Studies (home department Jurisprudence and Social Policy)
Sorting through masses of research is a key learning objective of the reading and composition seminar. Students reported feeling overwhelmed as they confronted a wealth of sources and ideas in preparing their final papers. What is one way that participatory social movements deal with analyzing an excess of information? Card clustering!

Breaking Down the Barriers Inhibiting Effective Learning Environments

by Yekaterina Miroshnikova, Molecular and Cell Biology (Home Department: Bioengineering)
I decided to set up an unconventional discussion section environment… I strategically utilized the uneven playing field in students’ prior knowledge to our benefit by facilitating team-based learning…[and] I taught the entirety of the material in a hands-on and application-based style.

Teaching Students ‘Street Smarts’ Necessary for Navigating Peer-Reviewed Literature

by Jeff Benca, Integrative Biology
During the in-class debate, we focused on the question “What caused earth’s greatest mass extinction?” … It was truly inspiring for me to hear both discussion sections of the class spend 1.5 hours actively … debating which arguments held most credence by analyzing the approaches of the papers, considering the expertise of the authors, and applying trends in the fossil record covered in previous lectures.

Anatomy of an Essay

by Lynn Huang, English
I realized that students did not understand the difference between evidence and analysis in their own writing….I introduced the idea that we can “dissect” and analytically color-code an essay in order to make its internal structure visible, and to determine what makes it an effective (or ineffective) paper.

Multi-Sensory Windows into Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology

by Stephanie Langin-Hooper, Near Eastern Studies
One of the most involved and successful projects that I designed was a miniature replica of underwater shipwreck excavations. Using large turkey roasting pans, water, sand, and an assortment of miniature objects, I recreated three underwater shipwreck excavation sites…The students became the archaeologists and were divided up into excavation teams…Through a multi-sensory engagement, this project successfully opened the eyes of my students to the dynamic process of archaeological excavation.

Teaching Basic Musicianship: An Ode to Chaos

by Emily Frey, Music
The lowly sounding course title is thus deceptive; teaching Basic Musicianship II is a baptism by fire. Desperate times, I thought when I received the assignment, called for experimental measures. With its mélange of skills, requirements, and student backgrounds, 20B is chaotic by nature, and it seemed unproductive to try to work against that.

(Feminist) Dreams Really Do Come True

by Anastasia Kayiatos, Slavic
As the students of the introductory course (many of them first-years) sift through these dense texts (for many, their first brushes with theory), it is easy for them to feel alienated by the language….My job is to make sure they know that feminist theory’s difficult lexicon is not an exercise in esotericism designed to disempower them. On the contrary, I strive to demonstrate throughout the semester, feminist scholars invent new vocabulary with a deliberate political aim of empowerment.