Plant Morphology is Just a Game

by Riva Bruenn, Plant and Microbial Biology Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2016 Plant morphology is a well-organized catalog of vegetative form. Every week students have dozens of plants to illustrate, interpret, and describe in lab, and even more material to cover and review in discussion. In order to finish the Continue Reading >>

Building a Better Review Session through Active Learning

by Beatriz Brando, Chemistry (Home Department: Education) Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2016 Chemistry 1AL, General Chemistry Lab for non-majors, is generally structured such that students attend a weekly one-hour lab lecture, a four-hour lab, and have the option to attend office hours with GSIs or a review session with the Continue Reading >>

Interdisciplinary Team Peer-to-Peer Learning with Guided Inquiry

by Dwight Springthorpe, Integrative Biology
Students come from many backgrounds, including biology, engineering, and physics, and range from second-year undergraduates to Ph.D. candidates.… I addressed this difficulty with carefully structured group problem solving during discussion sections.… Since the problem sets drew on all the group’s skills, students would find themselves alternating between teaching and learning roles.

A Solution for Inclusion: Keeping Advanced Students Stimulated Without Leaving Others Behind

by Nadia Kurd, Molecular and Cell Biology
I was frustrated to find that any time I catered to the more advanced students and presented more challenging topics, the rest of the class struggled to follow along; whereas when I continued to conduct class at a level where most of the students were comfortable, the advanced students again lost interest. In an attempt to remedy this problem, I decided to try to develop “interactive” worksheets for class.

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!

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.

Policy Consulting Simulations as a Tool for Understanding and Applying Economic Concepts

by Anna Rubin, Public Policy
Assigning students to small groups leveraged the economics background that many students brought to this class by putting them in the role of a peer teacher… This structure…help[ed] students struggling to understand core concepts…[and created] opportunities for all students to apply these concepts to public policy questions.

Engaging with the Thesis Statement: Developing Metacognitive Skills

by Jennifer Johnson, Linguistics (Home Department: Education)
I needed to develop in-class peer review and self review activities that assist students in exploring, understanding, and contesting feedback. … How do I help students develop metacognitive skills — in other words, reflect on their reflections?

Language Pedagogy as a Group Effort

by Rahul Bjørn Parson, South and Southeast Asian Studies
I had learned while teaching South Asian language and literature courses that all my students come with different experiences and abilities and varying knowledge of the region and culture; and that often the best pedagogical method is to empower the students to teach each other.