Authentic Assessment

A form of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills. This definition comes from Jonathan Mueller’s website, which is a fabulous resource for folks interested in authentic assessment tasks. http://jonathan.mueller.faculty.noctrl.edu/toolbox/whatisit.htm#definitions

Clickers/ Personal Response Systems

Clickers/ Personal Response Systems are portable, hand-held devices that allow students to instantly provide feedback and answer questions posed by their instructors. To find out more about clickers and how they are used on campus, go to the TEP page for http://tep.uoregon.edu/technology/engagement/clickers.html

External Brain

Susan’s External Brain exercise is a way for students to create an external hard-drive for the information learned in the course. It’s part glossary, part processing exercise that asks students to find, organize, and reiterate the information necessary for  classwork. To see the complete text of her assignment, as well as student examples …

Learner Centered Teaching

Learner Centered Teaching focuses on what students do to learn skills and gain understanding, rather than what the teacher does to impart this. This definition emphasizes the concept of the student ‘doing’. Some characteristics of Learner Centered teaching are

  • ‘the reliance on active rather than passive learning,
  • an emphasis on deep learning and understanding,
  • increased responsibility and accountability on the part of the learner,
  • an increased sense of autonomy in the learner
  • an interdependence between teacher and learner,
  • mutual respect within the learner teacher relationship a reflexive approach to the teaching and learning process on the part of both teacher and learner.’

This definition has been adapted from: http://www.aishe.org/readings/2005-1/oneill-mcmahon-Tues_19th_Oct_SCL.html#XLea2003

Learning Objectives

A learning objective describes what students should know or be able to do at the end of the course that they couldn’t do before.  Learning Objectives describe performance in a way that allows students to monitor their progress throughout the term. For examples and more information about Learning Objectives, this site from MIT is a fantastic resource.

Learning Styles/Modalities

Learning styles/modalities refers to the different ways that students access information and build new skills. Some students learn best with visual materials, others prefer hands-on or kinesthetic learning. In addition to sensory learning styles, temperamental learning styles such as those derived from the MBTI may also be useful for reaching the greatest number of students. For more information about learning styles check out the Wikipedia page.


Rubrics are a set of criteria and standards linked to learning objectives that is used to assess complex student work, such as papers, essays, or presentations, which cannot be evaluated with complete objectivity. For examples of General Education rubrics, see this rubrics library from CSU Fresno http://www.csufresno.edu/irap/assessment/rubric.shtml.


A teacher centered approach to the classroom, as opposed to student centered, focuses on what the teacher will do in the classroom, what material will she cover in her lecture, what her manner and tone might be. While issues of teacher behavior are important, a heavy focus on what the teacher will do leaves little time for designing activities the students will engage with.

Universal Design

Universal design is an approach to creating environments and products that recognizes the diversity of users, regardless of their ability or age. Universal design is a value, not a set of dimensional requirements. It challenges designers to think beyond code compliance and special features for specific users towards more inclusive solutions that incorporate the needs of diverse users without segregation or separate accommodation.For more information see the Curriculum Info section of UO’s Universal Design Education Project. http://www.uoregon.edu/~sij/udep/index.htm