What the Best College Teachers Do
What makes a great teacher great? Who are the professors students remember long after graduation? This book, the conclusion of a fifteen-year study of nearly one hundred college teachers in a wide variety of fields and universities, offers valuable answers for all educators. Available through Amazon: What The Best College Teachers Do, Ken Bain, Harvard University Press, 2004.
The short answer is--it's not what teachers do, it's what they understand. Lesson plans and lecture notes matter less than the special way teachers comprehend the subject and value human learning. Whether historians or physicists, in El Paso or St. Paul, the best teachers know their subjects inside and out--but they also know how to engage and challenge students and to provoke impassioned responses. Most of all, they believe two things fervently: that teaching matters and that students can learn.
Some Resources for Cultivating Learning in Large Classes (and maybe some small ones too)
Large Introductory Courses: Resources Teaching Large Courses Project funded by the Australian Universities Teaching Committee (AUTC), a national body aimed at improving teaching and learning in Australian universities.
University of Maryland Center for Teaching Excellence site, Teaching Large Classes, has resources, a newsletter and links.
Richard J. Anderson, Ruth Anderson, Tammy Vandegrift, Steven Wolfman, Ken Yasuhara. Promoting Interaction In Large Classes With Computer-Mediated Feedback (PDF).
Teaching Large Classes, produced by the Office of Instructional Development and Technology at Dalhousie University. 15-minute video. You will need RealPlayer
Teaching Writing in Large Classes from the Center for Writing Excellence and Writing Across the Curriculum at Ohio University.
Successful Writing in Large Classes from California State University, Sacramento
Student Management Teams: A Handbook. from Ed Nuhfer
Donald L. Finkel and G. Stephen Monk, "Teachers and learning groups: Dissolution of the Atlas Complex." (PDF) — Finkel and Monk define the Atlas complex as a "state of mind that keeps teachers fixed in the center of their classroom, supporting the entire burden of responsibility for the course on their own shoulders. This state of mind is hardened by the expectations that surround teachers and by the impact of the experience that results from them."
From Teaching to Learning: A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education. One of the most influential articles on higher education written in the last twenty-five years. A new way of thinking about our enterprise of teaching and learning.
Designing a Better Syllabus
The Promising Syllabus. A model for a syllabus suggested by both the research on human learning and motivation and the practices of highly successful college teachers.
Lectures and Oral Presentations
Transforming Lectures, from Ken Bain.
How Do I Improve My Lectures?, advice from the Montclair State Research Academy for University Learning
Twenty ways to make lectures more participatory is provided by the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University.
How Do I Improve Class Discussions?, advice from Ken Bain.
An article on seminar teaching by Richard Gale from the Carnegie Foundation "Perspectives" Series..
A Student Writing Guide (PDF) from the University of Minnesota
Encouraging Student Writing: A Guide for Instructors (PDF), Office of Instructional Development, University of California, Berkeley
The Little Red Schoolhouse material from the University of Chicago. Parts of the Little Red Schoolhouse materials on writing (probably the best guide to writing in the English language) are posted here as Word files AFTER they have been given in class. They will remain posted for only three sessions, so follow the postings during a semester and pick them up quickly. At no time is the entire set posted at one time.
Case-based or problem-based methods
Problem-Based Learning (PDF). Speaking of Teaching: Stanford University Newsletter on Teaching 11 (1), 2001, contains background on this approach, methods, advice on how to start and bibliography.
National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University of Buffalo.
Roger T. and David W. Johnson, "Cooperative learning: Two heads learn better than one." Transforming Education (IC#18) Winter 1988, Page 34.
Collaborative Learning: Small Group Learning Page, devoted especially to the sciences, explores ideas, techniques, bibliographies and other resources about small group collaborative learning, and stories by faculty who use these techniques.
Collaborative Learning: Group Work and Study Teams. From Tools for Teaching by Barbara Gross Davis.