Teaching Guide Articles

The articles in this section introduce ways Berkeley GSIs have guided student learning using features of the UC Berkeley learning management systems (currently bCourses):

Teaching Effectiveness Award Essays

The following essays describe GSI implementations of excellent teaching and learning strategies using digital media:

Live Digital Translation for Dead Languages

by Eduardo A. Escobar, Near Eastern Studies

Every week, my students and I utilized a large HD display in order to examine fragmentary cuneiform sources from photographs and line drawings while producing a live translation of the text. In these sessions, each participant read a set of lines and provided a translation based on their research. Simultaneously, the students and the instructor used footnotes to annotate the reader’s translation with semantic disagreements, textual variants, and a range of philological commentaries.

Tweeting Sociological Theory as Situated Learning

by Shelly Steward, Sociology

Recipient of the Teagle Foundation Award for Excellence in Enhancing Student Learning, 2015

In order to make theory a way of understanding the world, students need to be reminded of it outside the classroom. While teaching a section of a course in sociological theory, I created a Twitter account to address this need, a strategy that combines the idea of situated learning with students’ penchant for social media.

To Risk an Argument: Tweeting Towards Independent Theses in English R1B

by Kathryn Fleishman, English

Challenged with independent critical thinking and absorbed in a network of ideas that reached out of our classroom and into their everyday lives, my students developed the willingness to risk an argument along with a strong grasp of the research process. … [S]tudents polished the opinions they had proffered as tweets and comments into solid theses for their individual research projects, transforming uncertain, visceral reactions into logical, distinctive arguments.

Prompting Critical Thinking through Metacognition and Electronic Scheduling

by Rong “Rocky” Ye, Chemistry

Recipient of the Teagle Foundation Award for Excellence in Enhancing Student Learning, 2015

I asked students to make a schedule for their lab activities ahead of time, and suggested a way for them to track their progress during the lab using cellphone apps. Students became more proficient in lab over time and were able to focus more on discussion and reflection on the labs, which translated into better observations and better conceived lab reports.

Expanding the Classroom: Using bSpace to Encourage Student-Driven Discussion*

by Ashley Leyba, History

* bSpace was the campus learning management system (LMS) prior to bCourses.

Over time it became clear to me that, more often than not, the discussions were a showcase of what I, and not my students, found intellectually exciting. I wanted something more for my students.

Learn at Your Own Pace

by Angela Chau, Bioengineering

I decided to redesign the lab sections to allow each student to learn at his or her own pace. Instead of using the few days before lab to plan out the chalkboard lecture, I used that time to implement a web page for that week’s section…Because students were being “taught” by the web pages during labs, I was then free to spend time working one-on-one with individual students without leaving the rest of the class waiting.