Translating from Shakespeare to Modernism: An Experiment in How Form Affects Meaning

by Marianne Kaletzky, Comparative Literature
One of the core principles of literary analysis is that the form of literature — the language an author uses, the way he or she structures the text, and the stylistic conventions he or she employs — means as much as the content. … I wanted to help my students not only to become more attentive to formal features, but also to understand why those formal features matter … To cultivate this understanding, I decided to give my students an unconventional writing assignment …

Sketching Social Theory Collectively

by Chris Herring, Sociology
While most professors have converted to Power Point, sociology professor Michael Burawoy remains wedded to the blackboard and diagrams relentlessly… [A] primary task became figuring out a way to get my students to take these illustrations as the starting point for discussion rather than the end-point.

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.

The Importance of Implicit Feature Awareness for Problem Solving in Organic Chemistry

by Jordan Axelson, Chemistry
During 2012, I served as head GSI for both first and second semesters of organic chemistry (Chemistry 3A and 3B). Despite the utility of resonance in solving problems presented during these classes, I found that at the end of Chem 3B, many students still struggled to understand and apply resonance…To alleviate this challenge, I built a kit that included a stainless steel “whiteboard,” dry-erase markers, and colored magnetic pieces meant to represent a single lobe of a p-orbital.

Fostering the Ability to Think Like an Experimenter in a Lecture Course

by Daniel Bliss, Molecular and Cell Biology (Home Department: Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute)
Their proficiency at internalizing and recalling textbook-level explanations had led them astray. My challenge, I realized, was to help them be able to switch into the thinking mode of an experimenter.

Teaching Students How to Create a Picture Worth a Thousand Words

by Julie Ullman, Molecular and Cell Biology
Precision in language is an unspoken tenet of scientific disciplines, and it is fair to have strict requirements for that in exams. Yet the question arose: How could I help to level the achievement gap between students who worked in science and had extensive, confident scientific lexicons and those who didn’t, while at the same time challenging everyone?

Drawing to Learn: One Way to Teach to Multiple Learning Styles

by Laurel Westbrook, Sociology
In order to give every student the chance to learn, I always try to present important concepts in multiple ways. In my seven semesters of teaching, I have found that drawing concepts and theories has been the teaching technique that reaches the largest number of students.

Finding Ways that Everyone can Contribute, Creatively: Using Visual Learning Techniques and Small Group Exercises to Promote Cooperative Learning

by Kenneth Haig, Political Science
The most difficult problem I faced was how to teach both the Japan-specific and broad theoretical aims of the course to students who were at best familiar with only one part or the other…The solution I settled on was to try to find applications for visual learning techniques and small group discussions wherever I could.

Lessons from a Lesson on Stellar Evolution

by Kathryn Peek, Astronomy
The stellar evolution exercise followed from a tenet of my teaching philosophy: occasionally putting larger concepts aside to nail down the basics is important, and doing so can illuminate more complex ideas…The day that I did this exercise in my sections was one of my best days that semester.

Teaching Alice

by William Dichtel, Chemistry
Organic chemistry is unavoidably visual, requiring complex drawings and graphs. Unfortunately, this presented a great challenge for Alice, a legally blind student who could only see a few inches in front of her eyes…At first, I struggled to find ways that would allow her to grasp the concepts more readily, and became frustrated with my inability to “show” her what I was explaining. This was an important lesson as I realized that the onus was on me to teach effectively.