TEP logoSoTL Corner « Teaching Effectiveness Program

SoTL Corner

TEP bases its philosophy and recommendations on the evidence-based research that comes out of the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). We feel it is important for the university community to be aware of the important contributions to SoTL, so we have compiled this list of resources. Some of the entries contain direct links to the original research papers, and others are resources from the secondary literature that draw on and refer to the primary literature.  We will continue to add to the list, so check back periodically to see what’s new.

  1. Students who participate actively in their classes retain material better than those who passively listen to lectures. This definitive 2014 meta-analysis by researchers at the University of Washington shows that students in active learning classes do on average 6 percentage points better on exams than their counterparts in lecture-based classes, and that students in classes with traditional lecturing are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in classes with active learning.

    Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(23), 8410-8415. http://www.pnas.org/content/111/23/8410.short

  2. Memory research has identified a wide variety of techniques for improving retention of information. Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, is an extremely accessible and interesting book that reviews techniques for effective long-term learning. It includes descriptions of the research as well as advice for faculty and students wanting to implement the techniques.Brown, P. C., Roediger, H. L., & McDaniel, M. A. (2014). Make it stick: The science of successful learning. Harvard University Press.
  3. Studies show that students who take notes on laptops do worse on conceptual questions than those who take notes longhand, and not just because they are distracted by multitasking. For an overview of the research, try reading:May, C. (2014). A learning secret: Don’t take notes with a laptop. Scientific American, 3. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-learning-secret-don-t-take-notes-with-a-laptop/If you prefer to read a research paper, see:Mueller, P. A., & Oppenheimer, D. M. (2014). The pen is mightier than the keyboard advantages of longhand over laptop note taking. Psychological science, 0956797614524581.  http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0956797614524581
  4. Looking for a comprehensive overview of the research on learning with straightforward advice on how to incorporate it into your teaching? Check out How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. This book is a must-read for every instructor.Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. John Wiley & Sons.
  5. Students who practice retrieval – recall information from memory to answer questions or do activities – learn the retrieved material more effectively than ones who simply reread text or do activities with open notes. This short article by memory researcher Jeffrey Karpicke discusses the research and has references to original research papers:A powerful way to improve learning and memory: Practicing retrieval enhances long-term, meaningful learning. http://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2016/06/learning-memory.aspx.
  6. Assessment in the College Science Classroom is a great book that provides an introduction to the goals of classroom assessment, assessment techniques and the research supporting them, and advice on how to implement them in your course. This book is useful far beyond the science faculty for whom it was nominally written.Dirks, C., Wenderoth, M. P., & Withers, M. (2014). Assessment in the college science classroom. W.H. Freeman Scientific Publishers.
  7. Did you know that research shows students do not learn more effectively when taught using their preferred learning style? For more information, read this summary article by the American Psychological Association, which has links to the original research papers: http://www.apa.org/pubs/highlights/spotlight/issue-22.aspx.
  8. Teaching and Learning STEM: A Practical Guide is a comprehensive teaching resource for STEM faculty. It has sections on designing courses, teaching courses, and facilitating skill development. Every STEM faculty member should use this resource!Felder, R. M., & Brent, R. (2016). Teaching and learning STEM: A practical guide. John Wiley & Sons.
  9. Students who improve their awareness of themselves as learners – their metacognition – generally learn better as a result. For tips on ways to build student metacognition in your classes, see:Tanner, K. D. (2012). Promoting student metacognition. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 11(2), 113-120.  http://www.lifescied.org/content/11/2/113.short
  10. What techniques do the best one-on-one tutors use with their tutees, and what makes then so effective? How can you introduce some of those techniques into your large classroom? This paper has some great suggestions:Wood, W. B., & Tanner, K. D. (2012). The role of the lecturer as tutor: doing what effective tutors do in a large lecture class. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 11(1), 3-9. http://www.lifescied.org/content/11/1/3.full
  11. Students who participate actively in their classes retain material better than those who passively listen to lectures. See the evidence for yourself in this paper from the education research group of Nobel prizewinner Carl Wieman. It has become a classic of the active learning literature.Deslauriers, L., Schelew, E., & Wieman, C. (2011). Improved learning in a large-enrollment physics class. Science, 332(6031), 862-864. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/332/6031/862
  12. Do you want to know how well your teaching practices mesh with techniques proven to enhance student learning? It could be a step toward improving your teaching. Try taking the Teaching Practices Inventory (TPI), a tool designed for science faculty but applicable to a much wider range of disciplines, then make an appointment to talk about it with a TEP representative! For a discussion of the TPI with links to the inventory and the original research paper, go to http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/teaching-practices-inventory-provides-tool-help-examine-teaching/.
  13. What techniques do you use to ensure that all the students in your class feel included and engaged? If you could use come evidence-based pointers, check out this paper by Kimberly Tanner. It was written for biologists, but the strategies she suggests are applicable in just about every classroom.Tanner, K. D. (2013). Structure matters: twenty-one teaching strategies to promote student engagement and cultivate classroom equity. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 12(3), 322-331. http://www.lifescied.org/content/12/3/322.short.
  14. For a follow-up to José Antonio Bowen’s June 2017 visit to UO, read his fascinating book. Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning urges faculty to re-center the classroom experience around the human dimensions of learning and offers practical advice for how to use technology outside the classroom to boost student readiness for interaction with faculty. The book is available online through the UO library.
  15. Are you interested in going to a conference about evidence-based teaching and learning so you can learn more and perhaps share your own work? The Lilly Conference Series on College and University Teaching and Learning hosts several events each year in locations around the country, drawing attendees from a broad range of disciplines. People who go always come back excited and bursting with ideas. For more information, visit http://lillyconferences.com/.
  16. How do your students actually study? What can you do to help them move away from ineffective strategies like cramming and rereading and start using research-proven tactics instead? To get some ideas, have a look at this paper by Matt Hora and Amanda Oleson.Hora, M.T. & Oleson, A.K. (2017). Examining study habits in undergraduate STEM courses from a situative perspective. International Journal of STEM Education, 4 (1), 1-19.  https://stemeducationjournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40594-017-0055-6
  17. You probably wouldn’t be surprised to hear that there is a positive correlation between final grades and the number of times a student attends office hours. So why don’t more students come to office hours? And what can you do to make them come more often? For some ideas (and a graph showing the correlation that you might want to show your students) check out this paper by Mario Guerrero and Alisa Beth Rod.Guerrero, M., & Rod, A. B. (2013). Engaging in Office Hours: A Study of Student-Faculty Interaction and Academic Performance. Journal of Political Science Education, 9(4), 403-416. http://marioguerrero.info/205/Assignments/GuerreroRod.pdf
  18. Which journals do you turn to when you want to get some fresh ideas about teaching and learning within your discipline, or more generally? Jennifer Friberg of Illinois State University has compiled an extensive annotated, discipline-specific list of many of the journals on Teaching and Learning.Multidisciplinary Publications
    Arts and Humanities
    Health Related Disciplines
    Business Related Disciplines
    Math and Science-Related DisciplinesThe American Library Association also has a list that includes journals in some fields Friberg’s does not. Check them out to see what you might be missing!http://acrl.ala.org/IS/instruction-tools-resources-2/pedagogy/a-selected-list-of-journals-on-teaching-learning/
  19. By now you’ve probably heard a colleague or student talk about the Reacting to the Past historical role-playing games they’ve been playing in class. If you’d like to learn more about how they work and how incredibly engaging and effective they can be, try reading:Carnes, M. C. (2014). Minds on fire: How role-immersion games transform college. Harvard University Press.
  20. Are you looking for ways to help students of all stripes feel they belong in your course and increase the chances they will persist in your field? Highlighting the diversity of people who work in your field can help students envision themselves similar roles. For a great assignment idea that meets this goal while also serving the faculty need for content coverage, see:Schinske, J. N., Perkins, H., Snyder, A., & Wyer, M. (2016). Scientist Spotlight Homework Assignments Shift Students’ Stereotypes of Scientists and Enhance Science Identity in a Diverse Introductory Science Class. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 15(3), ar47. http://www.lifescied.org/content/15/3/ar47.full.pdf+html
  21. How do you structure your class sessions? You may have multiple parts to a given class period, and the order in which students encounter those parts can affect how well they learn the material.  The 5E Model provides a framework for aligning the components of a class with the way people learn.  For details, see:Tanner, K. D. (2010). Order matters: using the 5E model to align teaching with how people learn. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 9(3), 159-164. http://www.lifescied.org/content/9/3/159.short

Comments are closed.