The Interpretive Problem: A Key Concept in Teaching Writing

by Carli Cutchin, Comparative Literature Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2017 Thesis statements are the bread and butter of a good college essay – or so conventional pedagogical wisdom would say. As a Reading and Composition instructor, I would see students struggle time and again when asked to write a thesis. Continue Reading >>

Beyond Plot: Discussing the Stakes of Literary Texts

by Vanessa Brutsche, French Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2017 One of the skills that I target in my Reading and Composition courses is the ability to read beyond basic content (plot and characters), and to move fluidly between the abstract and concrete levels of a text’s meaning. In literature-based courses, Continue Reading >>

Introducing Students to Scientific Writing in E45 Lab Sections

by Rajan Kumar, Materials Science and Engineering Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2016 In Spring 2015, I served as the GSI for Properties of Materials (E45), an introductory materials science and engineering course usually taken by freshmen and sophomore students. My primary responsibility for the course was to lead the lab Continue Reading >>

How Research on Student Learning Explains the Effectiveness of Empirically Driven Classroom Activities

by Elise Piazza, Vision Science Recipient of the Teagle Foundation Award for Excellence in Enhancing Student Learning, 2014 Related Teaching Effectiveness Award essay: Achieving Widespread Participation through Evidence-Based Classroom Discourse As a GSI for Introduction to Cognitive Science, I developed several empirically driven activities to increase student participation by engaging Continue Reading >>

Achieving Widespread Participation through Evidence-Based Classroom Discourse

by Elise Piazza, Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies (Home Department: Vision Science)
On my first day as a graduate student instructor for Introduction to Cognitive Science, I noticed that participation was limited to a few students, while the rest sat silently, either intimidated or bored…As an experimental psychologist, I decided to introduce my scientific approach to teaching by turning our discussion section into an experiment.

The Hip Bone is Connected to the Thigh Bone: Fostering Higher-Order Learning by Not Answering Students’ Questions

by Julie Wesp, Anthropology
I wanted to create an environment that would stimulate higher-order learning and instill a deeper understanding and organization of the information. Answering the kind of questions the students were asking did not help them to piece together the parts into a whole; it only insinuated that repetitive memorization was the key to success. In an effort to break this cycle, during the next section I simply stopped answering them.