active learning

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Critical Thinking

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Tags: active learning   |   critical thinking   |   problem solving   |   evaluation   |   teaching tactics   |   video   |   video playlist   |   TED Ed   |   Socratic method

NOTE: Use the playlist button located in the top left of the video window above to switch between episodes.

What is Critical Thinking? (10:42)
With amusing references to pop culture, a philosopher distills the key attributes of critical thinking, offers his own best definition, and expounds why critical thinking should be taught. (10:42)

5 Tips to Improve Your Critical Thinking? (4:30)
This TED.Ed video describes a 5-Step Process for using critical thinking to improve decision-making: Formulate Your Question, Gather Your Information, Apply the Information, Consider the Implications, Explore Other Points of View.

NOTE: Use the playlist button located in the top left of the video window above to switch between episodes.

Active Learning

What is Active Learning (5:34)

Active Learning Classrooms: Everyone is engaged! (18:45)


What is Active Learning? (4:12)

The video introduces “active learning” and its benefits with helpful examples of active learning strategies to employ in face-to-face and online learning environments.

Active Learning Classrooms: Everyone is Engaged! (5:33)
Professor and students in a “high-performance workgroup” at McGill University describe and demonstrate features of the active learning design of their course. The benefits of this experience are also enumerated.

Learning: 3 Easy Ways for Higher Education (18:45)
A detailed Powerpoint presentation of 3 active learning strategies: Pause, Asking Questions, and Using Cases or Problems.

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A Guide to Teaching in the Active Learning Classroom: History, Research, and Practice

Baepler, Paul; Walker, J.D.; Brooks, D. Christorpher; Saichaie, Kem; and Petersen, Christina I.
Stylus Publishing, Llc., 2016

Book Review

Tags: active learning   |   classroom management   |   constructivist and active learning theory
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Reviewed by: Marie Nuar, St. John's University, Rome Campus
Date Reviewed: November 30, -0001
This book examines a particular type of classroom organization known as the “active learning classroom.” This type of classroom is not a lecture hall, but rather, is a room where there is no clear front or back, where students sit in movable chairs around round tables that facilitate group work shared with the larger group via screens. The very organization of the classroom forces the professor to have their back ...

This book examines a particular type of classroom organization known as the “active learning classroom.” This type of classroom is not a lecture hall, but rather, is a room where there is no clear front or back, where students sit in movable chairs around round tables that facilitate group work shared with the larger group via screens. The very organization of the classroom forces the professor to have their back to at least some of the students all the time. This type of classroom interaction seems to be designed for larger class sizes, helping to transform a large lecture hall of students into a classroom where teacher and student interaction, as well as student-to-student interaction, is maximized. These types of classrooms have been shown to have a positive impact on students’ grades, which could be attributed to the room configuration inhibiting certain negative activities while encouraging positive ones. Active learning classrooms provide four main advantages: “immersion learning, the social dimension of learning, collaborative learning, and the performance aspect of teaching and learning” (16). Teaching in an active learning classroom is no longer just transmission of knowledge but a collaborative effort engaging the students for better and more long-term retention of knowledge.

The subtitle of the book is “History, Research, and Practice. The history of this method of teaching is covered in chapter one. The research that supports the practice is the focus of chapters two and three. Chapter two focuses more on the research aspects while chapter three focuses on the role that social interactions have in learning. The core of the book, chapters three through eight, gives practical suggestions on how to implement the teaching method, and presents common difficulties and how to overcome them. The last three chapters focus on how to help professors learn this method of teaching, a suggested methodology on how to study whether the change of teaching method had a positive impact on student learning, and what the future might hold for this teaching method.

The book advocates a particular physical organization of the classroom. This is not up to the individual professors, but to the institutions in which they work. Even if one does not have the particular physical layout advocated in this book, there are a number of helpful tips for professors who seek to more actively engage their students. With chapters titled, “Assignments and Activities,” “Managing Student Groups,” and “Assessment and Feedback,” it is easy to find practical suggestions on how to make the classroom less didactic and more engaged. Each chapter has helpful and clear subheadings that make it easy to scan for the topic that one needs. Many of these methods are helpful in the religious studies classroom to help engage the student for a greater learning outcome. The examples in the book range from the sciences through to the humanities, helping a humanities professor get ideas on means of implementing the method in their own classroom.

 

My teacher training focused on goals and assessment. When I conduct workshops on teaching and whenever I am asked for advice on teaching, I tell instructors to clarify goals and work backward. Two years ago I gave a presentation on technology in the classroom. I included a laundry list of ...

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A Toolkit for College Professors

Cipriano, Robert E., and Buller, Jeffrey L.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015

Book Review

Tags: active learning   |   critically reflective teaching   |   faculty development   |   learner centered teaching
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Reviewed by: Joanne Robinson, University of North Carolina - Charlotte
Date Reviewed: September 7, 2016
This book is pitched to college and university faculty at all career stages, and it stands out from other books in this category because of its research-based findings and its thoughtful case studies. The authors based their guidance on a year-long research study of 688 faculty from a wide range of institutions as well as on years of personal professional experience. The book covers the major aspects of an academic career: ...

This book is pitched to college and university faculty at all career stages, and it stands out from other books in this category because of its research-based findings and its thoughtful case studies. The authors based their guidance on a year-long research study of 688 faculty from a wide range of institutions as well as on years of personal professional experience. The book covers the major aspects of an academic career: effective teaching and promoting student success, defining and facilitating collegiality and positive relationships within departments and with administration, conducting research, performing effective service to the institution or guild, and moving through the ranks to tenure and beyond. This book’s strengths include the liberal use of longer case studies and shorter scenarios, each of which works through a series of questions and proposed resolutions (for case studies) and a challenge question and outcome (for scenarios). The initial warm-up questions are often quite broad (for example, “Is there any general advice you think might be helpful to your friend?” [6]) while later questions tend to be more specific and thoughtful, requiring the reader to consider multiple factors and angles within one scenario. These vignettes were well written and thoughtfully prepared, and on the whole they engage the reader quite effectively. That the scenarios are so clearly taken from actual experience makes them more valuable, especially to newer faculty members who haven’t yet seen it all.

Two chapters of this guide focus specifically on teaching. The first, titled “Teaching Effectively in the Classroom,” strongly promotes active learning over lecturing. The case studies in this section deal with common problems, such as how to respond to poor results in student evaluations and what to do when the entire class fails an exam. This chapter emphasizes the importance of learning how to teach large courses effectively, although the authors do include a section at the end of the chapter on “teachniques” for teaching smaller courses. Many new faculty and older faculty who are retooling will find this chapter a useful primer. The second chapter focuses on “Promoting Student Success and Engagement,” with a focus on developing friendly but not-too-familiar relationships with students. Using research and experience, the authors explain the pivotal importance of faculty in shaping students’ lives and ways of thinking well beyond the classroom.

Taken together, these two chapters address many issues of interest to readers of this journal, and the remainder of the book is equally valuable for those looking for guidance and food for thought. As a guide designed for all faculty, this book necessarily elides issues of race and gender, for instance, that significantly shape faculty experience. That said, the book accomplishes much in a short space, and each chapter of the book is short and well-structured. Above all, this book uses the very techniques it suggests for effective teaching, and new faculty members in particular will find themselves better prepared for everyday faculty life after thinking through these realistic case studies.

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