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All posts in Teaching & Learning

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

Presenting Beyond PowerPoint

During this academic year, Teaching Times features the winners of the 2011-2012 Elizabeth Baranger Awards for graduate teaching in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. In this issue we highlight Lauren Collister (Linguistics), who integrates a new presentation technology in her courses to better engage her students. Lauren Collister loves Prezi…because . . . Read more

Electronic Translators in the Classroom

By Joe Chilson, Guest Writer Ke Li is an international student getting her masters in accounting at Pitt. Even though her English is pretty good, she has an electronic translator that helps her deal with difficult English outside the classroom. Li uses the translator on her iPhone at the supermarket, when . . . Read more

Effective Clicker Questions Promote Active Learning in Large Classes

Achieving student interaction and providing opportunities for practice with feedback can be challenging in a large class. Some professors use clickers to keep students actively engaged. Clickers, or student response systems, are hand-held mobile devices that allow students to respond to multiple choice questions included in the instructor’s PowerPoint slides. Students . . . Read more

Pitt Joins Peers in exploring the New Territory of MOOC’s

The University of Pittsburgh recently announced its entry into the world of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC’s), free classes which are taught to “large numbers of students with minimal involvement by professors,” according to theChronicle of Higher Education. MOOC’s have been growing at an exponential rate, with more than a million . . . 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

Mobile Learning & Blackboard

Students, like many people, tend to focus on their mobile phones at all times of the day and night—as they walk to class, ride the bus, or wait in line at a restaurant.  If instructors opt to put course materials in a mobile-friendly format in CourseWeb, students can use their . . . Read more

Using POGIL To Create Learning Activities

Rick Moog, professor at Franklin and Marshall College, will return to campus Nov. 5 to lead an all-day hands-on workshop on Process Oriented Group Inquiry Learning (POGIL), a teaching method based on guided inquiry. The effectiveness of POGIL is supported by a decade of research funded by the National Science . . . Read more

Pedagogical Uses for PechaKucha

By Mike Howie, Teaching Times Summer Intern Presentations form an integral part of many classes. However, it can be challenging to prepare presentations that hold students’ attention. Increasingly popular in higher education and other contexts, PechaKucha provides a concise and engaging presentation format, which can address some of the pitfalls . . . Read more

School of Information Sciences Encourages Online Reading through Social Progress Visualization

Despite the seemingly endless stream of advancements the computer age has ushered in and their potential for more interactive learning, professors often rely instead on more traditional teaching methods (e.g. textbooks).  Peter Brusilovsky, School of Information Sciences, believes newer forms of technology can encourage student learning, and he will implement . . . Read more

Grand Designs: Course to Encourage Empathic Rehab Design

For people living with disabilities, assistive technologies (e.g. wheelchairs) can be the most important factor in their ability to fully participate in society.  Jon Pearlman and Mary Goldberg, Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology (RST), created a two-part project design course that will be offered in the Fall 2012 and . . . 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

Laughter as Learning

Is a funny professor a good professor?  Instructors may sense intuitively that humor in the classroom contributes to a better classroom environment and, therefore, better learning.  Laughing students are listening and engaged students, so the thinking goes, and a student who laughs might also remember.  Additionally, laughter can contribute to . . . Read more

More Students Use Mobile Devices for Reading

“Tablet Ownership Triples among College Students,” a recent headline from the Wired Campus blog of The Chronicle of Higher Education, documents the phenomenal growth of mobile devices on campuses.  The article reports that the “number of college students who say they own tablets has more than tripled since a survey taken last year…The . . . Read more

GradEXPO: Teaching Philosophies in Action

On April 5, 2012, six graduate student teaching assistants and teaching fellows, together with Arts & Sciences Acting Associate Dean Stephen Carr, convened at GradEXPO to discuss “Teaching  Philosophies in Action.”  Dr. Carr stressed the importance of teaching philosophies, not only as useful reflective statements on one’s own teaching, but . . . Read more

Strategies for Teaching Large Classes

Large courses with enrollments ranging from 100 to 400 students present challenges for new and seasoned instructors:  How is it possible to integrate teaching strategies to promote engagement and lasting learning in a huge auditorium packed with students? For example, Psychology, one of the University’s most popular undergraduate fields, requires . . . Read more

Students Participate in Large Chemistry Classes

A common perception among faculty is that classes with enrollments of more than 100 are not conducive to student participation, let alone lively discussion. George Bandik, however, has been engaging students in his large chemistry classes for 30 years and still looks forward to opportunities in each class to draw . . . Read more

The Next Class: Think-Pair-Share

With such a broad array of valuable teaching methods available, University instructors can find it difficult to know just where to begin, much less what strategy to adopt.  Rather than letting indecision undermine action, consider introducing one new activity in the next class. “The Next Class” provides teaching suggestions that . . . Read more

Improving Medical Students’ Cultural Competency

(left to right) Thuy D. Bui , Brain A. Primack , Carl I. Fertman Photo by Jason Blair, CIDDE Brian A. Primack and Thuy D. Bui, School of Medicine, and Carl I. Fertman, School of Education, will use their 2005 ACIE award in their project entitled Improving Medical Students’ Cultural Competency through Developing Community Patient Education Materials: Health . . . 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

Interdisciplinary Course on Health Record Technology

(left to right) Michael Spreyne, Valerie Watzlaf Medical errors have been cited as the leading cause of death in the United States, and some health care professionals as well as many experts in related fields outside the health care industry believe that our antiquated method of paper record keeping contributes to this . . . Read more