24 09, 2014

Team-based Learning: A research-based instructional practice

Do you wonder if students could be encouraged to accomplish challenging instructional tasks in a way that significantly improves their learning? One instructional strategy that has been shown to improve student learning through instructional challenges is Team-based Learning. Putting students into small groups to promote effective learning is a common instructional technique. However utilizing a strategy, such as team-based learning, for the whole course structure creates synergy throughout the entire course. Team-based learning is a strategy intended to produce high-performance teams who complete challenging learning tasks. How is this done?

In team-based learning the course content is divided into five to seven units, with each unit requiring two to three weeks to complete. Each unit involves students in three phases: preparation, application, and assessment. The preparation phase requires three steps. In the first step students become familiar with the content by studying assigned resources (readings, videos, tutorials, etc.)  for that unit in preparation for the second step. In the second step students engage in the Readiness Assurance Process. In this process students take a short (usually multiple choice) quiz in class to demonstrate that they have a basic understanding of the concepts presented through the assigned resources. The students complete this readiness quiz twice, first individually and then with their group. Both scores count toward their course grade. In the final step the teacher provides corrective instruction based on gaps in understanding that students demonstrated in the quizzes. At this point students have a moderate understanding of the unit concepts and are prepared to start the application phase. In this phase they work as a team, using the quizzed content to solve a problem. This application phase is the most exciting as students gain a better understanding of how applying course concepts can resolve everyday problems. This phase can also […]

24 09, 2014

Chickering and Gamson’s Second Principle – Good Practice Develops Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students

Chickering and Gamson’s second principle for good practice in education focuses on developing reciprocity and cooperation among students.   Research on this principle supports the practice of having students work together cooperatively to enhance their learning.

Effective communication skills, group problem solving, and an awareness of ones strengths and weaknesses in a student group are important for successful student cooperation.   Many of these skills are refined in face-to-face interaction but technology plays a part as well.   Learning to effectively use group discussion boards, shared document editing capabilities, and group content development environments like wikis all contribute to effective skill building in collaborative situations.

Students learning to work in teams mirrors most work situations where people work cooperatively with colleagues as opposed to the solitary worker, relying solely on his or her own efforts. Many employers cite the ability or inability of new college graduates to work cooperatively with colleagues as a crucial factor in their new employees’ success or failure in the workplace.

Insuring that faculty develop team projects and cooperative learning experiences helps students build the necessary skills to work cooperatively with others.   Faculty should consider how designing assignments and projects that foster developing reciprocity and cooperation among their students can enhance student learning.

Kim Chambers

22 09, 2014

Teaching with Twitter

Twitter logoFor the past six years in a row, Twitter has been voted the #1 tool for learning, and research has shown that it can enhance student collaboration, engagement, and success.  Below are some more resources and tips on using Twitter effectively in the classroom and for your own professional networking, as well as resources on helping students develop and control their digital identities online.

Be sure to follow CTLE on Twitter, too! @DBCTLE


19 09, 2014

Advising & Mentoring Students

Donna Ferrell advising a studentHere is a video of several faculty and staff sharing their experience and wisdom on effectively advising and mentoring students.  There are also more resources about advising below, including resources on helping students with their study skills and time management.



10 09, 2014

Avoiding the Sophomore Slump

Students taking advantage of the study area of the Jack R. Hunt LibraryAs this recent article notes, students in the “murky middle” with GPAs between 2.0 and 3.0 “make up nearly half of total dropouts,” and they aren’t necessarily dropping out in the first year.  “Small academic improvements correlate with greatly heightened chances of graduation. …Just a small nudge – one-on-one tutoring, time management counseling – could keep a student on track to graduate.” Here are some more resources on helping students overcome the “sophomore slump”:


28 08, 2014

First Year Friday – September 19th

New faculty in COASDuring this brown bag lunch, first year faculty will have opportunity to interact with “yearlings”, junior faculty who’ve been here a year or more, and some seasoned veterans.  It will be an opportunity to ask questions about issues you’re encountering. CTLE will provide lunch for this first meeting, so please RSVP and indicate any dietary restrictions.   We will meet in the CTLE Faculty Resource Center on Friday, September 19th, from 11:45am to 12:45pm.

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