Instructor Guidance

» More on learning goals on the Learning Goals page

» More clicker resources on the Clickers page

Course Transformation Guide

Course Transformation Guide. Many of the resources on this page are included in our Course Transformation Guide, a guide for instructors interested in transforming a course, and their instruction, to use research-based principles and improve student learning. Included are reviews of key principles in teaching & learning, and research-based recommendations on instructional techniques.

» More on course transformation on the Course Transformation page

Video

Evidence-based science education in action (6-8 minute videos)
Wondering how to manage small group activities in a large lecture hall? Heard about 2-stage exams, but want to see the logistics? This video collection shows clips from university science and math classrooms, along with commentary pointing out key aspects and strategies.

Clickers in the Science Classroom and Group Work in the College Classroom
Short videos produced by the University of Colorado Science Education Initiative (CU-SEI) with implementation tips. Includes 3 videos on using clickers in upper division courses.

iBiology Scientific Teaching Video Series - active learning module (produced by iBiology.org)
A collection of videos that provides current and future undergraduate biology instructors with the rationale and tools to design and implement active learning in their classrooms. The videos range from about 3 min to 16 min long and feature biology faculty at a variety of colleges and universities. Don't miss the 3 videos under the Tools section.

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In-Class Activities

NEW! Making the most of demonstrations, videos, animations, or simulations in lectures and laboratories
Based on a workshop offered at the UBC Annual Science Education Open House on April 13, 2015. This short document discusses why students often don't learn from demos, videos, animations, and simulations, and gives strategies to improve student learning. (2 pages)

Creating and implementing in-class activities; principles and practical tips
Things to think about while designing in-class group activities and practical tips on their design, implementation, and follow-up. (2 pages)

What Not To Do; Practices that should be avoided when implementing active learning
We and others have written about how to implement active learning in the university classroom, but we have noticed some practices by well-meaning instructors that we feel should be avoided. (2 pages)

Clicker Resource Guide
An instructor's guide to the effective use of personal response systems ("clickers") in teaching, prepared by CU-SEI and UBC-CWSEI staff & associates. (updated June 2009)

Classroom Response System ("Clickers") Bibliography (Vanderbilt Center for Teaching)
A very extensive bibliography on clicker use and research (with links to digitally available papers).

Two-Stage Exams
In a two-stage exam, students first complete and turn in the exam individually and then, working in small groups, answer the exam questions again. Students receive immediate, targeted feedback on their solutions from their peers and see alternative approaches to the problems. This document discusses the benefits of two-stage exams and gives practical implementation tips. (2 pages)

Framing the Interactive Engagement Classroom
A set of instructor-written materials from a variety of disciplines for generating student buy-in to innovative classroom techniques. Compiled by Stephanie Chasteen of the University of Colorado Boulder in collaboration with Andrew Boudreaux of Western Washington University and Jon Gaffney of Eastern Kentucky University.

Invention Activities for University Cell Biology
Invention activity materials designed by Jared Taylor and George Spiegelman (UBC Microbiology & Immunology). Includes guide for instructors and slides, handouts, and follow-up homework. (11 MB Zip file)

Group Work in Educational Settings
A short description of different approaches to student group work and their benefits, requirements, and implementation logistics, prepared by CU-SEI and UBC-CWSEI staff & associates.

Thought Questions: A New Approach to Using Clickers
A 2-pager on a different way to use clickers: the question is open-ended and the voting is on whether the students agree or disagree with other students’ answer and rationale. Prepared by Teresa Foley and Pei-San Tsai, Integrative Physiology Dept., University of Colorado-Boulder.

Videos showing in-class activities implementation and tips

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Assessment

NEW! Introduction to Student Peer Review and Resources and Guidance for Student Peer Review
Jessica Dawson prepared two documents on the use of student peer evaluation based on a literature review and discussions with instructors who have used it. The first document is a brief five page overview of what peer review is as well as the advantages and challenges of implementing peer review; it includes an annotated bibliography. The 2nd document contains a detailed checklist of issues that should be considered when thinking about implementing peer review, as well as an overview of peer review software systems available as of fall 2014. Although these are in the context of computer science instruction, they are very applicable to other disciplines.

Assessments That Support Student Learning
2-page summary of key points and factors from the review paper “Conditions Under Which Assessment Supports Student Learning,” including CWSEI suggestions on implementing good assessment and feedback without spending excessive time marking.

Two-Stage Exams
In a two-stage exam, students first complete and turn in the exam individually and then, working in small groups, answer the exam questions again. Students receive immediate, targeted feedback on their solutions from their peers and see alternative approaches to the problems. This document discusses the benefits of two-stage exams and gives practical implementation tips. (2 pages)

How to Prepare Better Multiple-Choice Test Items: Guidelines for University Faculty
An excellent guide for the creation of good multiple choice test questions, including discussion about when and how multiple choice tests are best used and avoiding common flaws. (Brigham Young University Testing Center)

Rubric for evaluating student presentations
Rubric for peer evaluation of students' "News Reports" presentations in EOSC 310, prepared by Sara Harris in Earth and Ocean Sciences with input from many others.

WSU Critical and Integrative Thinking Rubric
An excellent guide developed at Washington State University for rating critical and integrative thinking.

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Other Important Course Components

First Day of Class
Recommendations for Instructors on establishing the course environment early in the Term. (2 pages; updated January 2014)

Preclass-Reading Assignments; Why they may be the most important homework for your students
We usually think of homework as a task, such as a problem set, in which students apply what they have learned in class. But homework can prepare students to learn in future classes. Here we discuss the benefits of pre-reading assignments, report on what students think about pre-reading, and give tips on how best to implement pre-reading assignments to make them effective. (2 pages)

Basic instructor habits to keep students engaged
A 2-pager by Carl Wieman with tips on keeping students engaged in the classroom, particularly in large lecture theatres.

Course Alignment
A 2-pager on promoting course alignment by developing a suite of questions targeting a learning goal that can be used in different settings to measure student learning. Prepared by Françoise Bentley and Teresa Foley, Integrative Physiology Dept., University of Colorado-Boulder.

Learning Goals/Objectives Examples
Good examples of learning goals: developed by departments involved in the Science Education Initiatives at UBC and the University of Colorado.

Learning Goals - Computer Science
Learning goals developed for 5 UBC Computer Science courses.

» More on learning goals on the Learning Goals page

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Research on learning

NEW! Improving Learning by Reducing Unnecessary Mental Load
Strategies for reducing unnecessary cognitive load to enhance learning during class. This document is the compiled and edited product of the students in Carl Wieman’s 2014 Stanford course in Science Teaching and Learning, with special thanks to Jennifer Crosby. (2 pages)

Motivating Learning
Student motivation is probably the single most important element of learning. Learning is inherently hard work; it is pushing the brain to its limits, and thus can only happen with motivation. Fortunately, research shows that there is a lot an instructor can do to motivate their students to learn. (2 pages)

Assessments That Support Student Learning
2-page summary of key points and factors from the review paper “Conditions Under Which Assessment Supports Student Learning,” including CWSEI suggestions on implementing good assessment and feedback without spending excessive time marking.

Teaching Expert Thinking
A guide for using invention activities to develop expert thinking (prepared by Wendy Adams and Carl Wieman, CU-SEI and UBC-CWSEI, and Dan Schwartz, Stanford School of Education).

What All Instructors Should Know About Learning [PowerPoint version ] [Audio] [Video]
Carl Wieman's UBC talk on March 19th, 2008.

What all instructors should know
prepared by UBC CWSEI.

URI Teach Sheet
Create an Environment Where You MOTIVATE, ENGAGE, and RESPOND. Former CWSEI STLF Josh Caulkins took page 9 ("What All Instructors Should Know") from the SEI Course Transformation Guide (below), cooked it down and prettied it up to produce this "Teach Sheet" for faculty he works with at the University of Rhode Island. (1 page)

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Student Study Skills & Perceptions

Considering the Student Perspective: Factors that Undergraduates Perceive as Influential to their Academic Performance in Science
A 2-page summary based on research conducted by Ashely Welsh for her Master's Thesis (includes recommendations for faculty)

Study skills development: How to Get the Most Out of Studying - Video series
by Professor Stephen L. Chew, a cognitive psychologist at Samford University
This is a very good resource for undergraduate students and instructors that discusses common misconceptions about learning and how to study effectively. This is a series of 5 videos, each about 7 minutes.

Study skills development: Improving Classroom Performance by Challenging Student Misconceptions About Learning
by Professor Stephen L. Chew, a cognitive psychologist at Samford University, Association for Psychological Science April 2010 (V. 23, No. 4, item 14)
A nice short article that discusses many of the points made in his video series How to Get the Most Out of Studying (above).

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