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A Common Syllabus – A Common Dilemma

David SchmidtTA Development ServicesA common syllabus should act as a road map and guide for both teacher and student. It keeps everyone on track so that they all arrive at a stated destination at a stated time. It should, however, allow time for interesting side trips and necessary pit stops. . . . Read more

Active Learning Activities

Active learning is the process of engaging students in activities that encourage them to think about what they are doing. The students, usually in groups, get hands-on experience with the subject matter and can assess their own degree of understanding and skill at handling the concepts being taught. With the . . . Read more

Active Learning in Large Biology Classes

Active learning happens when students engage with course content in ways that promote deep processing and higher level thinking. To Biology professor Valerie Oke, it means making deliberate choices about how to use class time, leveraging the use of peer activities, and emphasizing the value of practice. Professor Oke teaches two . . . Read more

Active Learning in the 21st Century

“Active learning lies at the very heart of modern learning theory,” commented K. Patricia Cross, David Pierpont Gardner Professor of Higher Education, University of California, Berkeley, in a keynote address at a conference on Teaching and Learning in the Next Century.*   Active learning was one of six items cited by . . . Read more

Active Learning with Writing, Experimenting, and Simulation

With their grant, Marlin Mickle, Electrical Engineering, and Michael Spring, Information Sciences, will create Active Learning with Writing, Experimenting, and Simulation (ALWES), a project to develop learning materials on wireless networks and radio frequency identification systems. The rapidly developing technology of wireless communication makes it virtually impossible for textbook publishers . . . Read more

An Overview of Service-learning

Editor’s Note: Much of the following discussion is excerpted from a “Service-Learning” Web site created by recent graduate Sarah Johnson and her mentor, Maureen Porter, assistant professor in the School of Education’s Administrative and Policy Studies Department (ADMPS). Additional information can be obtained from this site: http://www.pitt.edu/~lincs. Service-learning has no simple . . . Read more

Animated Psychiatree©

A new computer application, Animated Psychiatree©, will provide an interactive learning experience through Web-based animation and sound for conceptualizing mental illness. “The idea came out of a desire to teach about psychiatric illness in ways that are interactive, fun, and of high yield,” according to project co-directors Joseph Kithas and . . . Read more

Author Models Strategies for Engaging Students

James Groccia, professor of Higher Education at Auburn University, is the author/co-author/co-editor of numerous book chapters and journal articles and 11 books on teaching, learning and higher education including Evidence-Based Teaching (2011).  His visit to the University was sponsored by the Center for Instructional Development & Distance Education (CIDDE). “Most of us . . . Read more

Authoring POGIL Activities

Rick Moog, Franklin & Marshall College, returned to Pitt November 5 to conduct a follow up workshop to his presentation given at CIDDE’s 2012 Summer Institute on POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning). 28 faculty representing 11 disciplines participated in a day-long workshop with Moog that involved several hands-on group activities with . . . Read more

Biology students write to learn critical thinking

Writing in the Biological Sciences functions as both a biology course and a course about writing in disciplines,” says Lydia Daniels, Biology. The main assignment is a research paper for which students select a topic from the field, read the primary literature and write a paper for an audience of . . . Read more

Class Disruption Tips

As we approach the last week of classes and finals week, the Teaching Times would like to offer faculty and graduate instructors some information to help students successfully complete the semester in spite of the recent disruptions on campus.  Missed class meetings, anxious and frustrated students, and the threat of future disruptions . . . Read more

Classroom Assessment Techniques

Classroom Assessment Techniques, or CATs, are short, ungraded, anonymous assessments that let teachers learn about their students’ attitudes, knowledge, and reactions to instruction. Instead of being aimed at assigning grades, CATs are formative and aim to improve instruction and learning.  Many informal assessments can be administered in a short period . . . Read more

Classroom Video Recording

For instructors seeking to enhance or document their teaching, we offer a classroom video recording service. Faculty tell us that they learn a lot by watching themselves from the perspective of their students. If you would like to review your video for feedback, a confidential consultation is available with a . . . Read more

Collaborative Learning

“Collaborative learning,” “cooperative learning,” and “group learning” are terms that refer to an instructional approach in which students work together to accomplish a common learning goal. Collaboration can be as simple as a two-minute, in-class exercise involving pairs of students or entail more complex, term-length projects in or outside of . . . Read more

Common Concepts Project: Community

A strong commitment to teaching and to interdisciplinary collaboration is the foundation for the Common Concepts Project: Community at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. During the 2002-2003 academic year, the project committee of six faculty, a librarian, and one student will work to incorporate the theme of “Community” into . . . Read more

Composing a Teaching Philosophy Statement

Teaching Times features winners of the 2011-2012 Elizabeth Baranger Awards for graduate teaching in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. In this issue we highlight George Meindl (Biological Sciences), who will share with you his teaching philosophy statement. A teaching philosophy statement conveys who you are as a teacher, and . . . Read more

Computation & Molecular Visualization in Chemistry

I have been interested in molecular visualization and the potential it holds for students since I first started teaching college students,” comments Lisa Bell-Loncella, Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Bell-Loncella is collaborating with David Waldeck, Chemistry, Oakland campus, to extend the capability for molecular visualization to chemistry students at . . . Read more

Conference Highlights University’s Culture of Assessment

“A lot of energy has resulted from reflective conversations throughout the University about what we’re teaching and how we’re teaching it,” commented Provost Patricia Beeson who opened the first annual University of Pittsburgh Assessment Conference January 18 at the University Club. An ongoing culture of assessment, which Beeson said is . . . Read more

Course Rationale

The course rationale is a brief statement that explains the purpose of the course and how its place in either the University’s or your department’s curriculum.

Course Roadmap: A Visual Summary of the Content of a Course

By Sean Garrett-Roe, Chemistry I teach a Physical Chemistry course, “Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics, and Kinetics”, to a class of about 35 senior chemistry majors. The course takes students through three broad areas of physical chemistry which, on the one hand, are conceptually very different from each other, but, on the . . . Read more

Curriculum transformations reflect world’s diversity

The following is taken from a paper, “Diversity and the College Curriculum:  Preparing Students for a Changing World,” by Debra Humphreys, Association of American Colleges and Universities, which granted permission for its use.* America’s colleges and universities are educating a larger and more diverse group of students than ever before. As . . . Read more

Development of a Computer-Based Aid for Evaluation of a Student Performance

Development of a Computer-Based Aid for Evaluation of a Student Performance will produce an automated process to evaluate and give feedback to medical students learning acute care skills in the Human Simulator Facility, a multimedia, lifelike simulation of patient contact.  About 150 third-year medical students take Critical Care Medicine each year.  Paul Rogers, project director, . . . Read more

Digital Documentation in General Biology Lab

(left to right) Kim Ziance, Bruce W. Robart Photo by Rick Povich, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Bruce W. Robart and Kimberly Ziance, Biology, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, will use their 2005 ACIE award forIntegrating Digital Documentation into the General Biology Laboratory Curriculum to enhance the laboratory experiences of approximately 300 Biology I . . . Read more