Tag Archives: active learning

The Lunch Spot: Let’s talk teaching


What do 2 prize winning instructors, 10 instructors from a variety of disciplines and TLS staff have in common? They recently came together for an informal lunch to share experiences, ideas, questions, and tips about teaching. As a newcomer to the TLS team, I was glad to be able to join them. It was an opportunity to hear about TLS services in depth, as well as what was on instructors’ minds. Together, they engaged in a spirited exchange on a variety of topics. Continue reading The Lunch Spot: Let’s talk teaching

Upcoming Webinars for McGill Instructors: Simple Strategies to Improve Student Learning


How can you help students remember more of what you teach them? How can you help students connect related concepts in your course?

Join Teaching and Learning Services for a webinar series that will address these questions and offer ideas on selecting teaching strategies based on how students learn.

  • November 21, 12:15-12:45pm: Remembering: Teaching students to remember important information
  • December 13, 12:15-12:45pm: Connecting: Teaching students to organize knowledge

We hope you can join us for a virtual lunch chat!

Register here.

Developing engaged citizens through critical thinking


Terry HebertWhat happens when students are asked to write for an audience who knows little about the discipline?” Guest speaker Professor Terry Hébert addressed this question at a November 20, 2015 session entitled Developing Engaged Citizens through Critical Thinking, the most recent event organized by the Assessment in Large Classes Advisory Group.

Continue reading Developing engaged citizens through critical thinking

Teaching What’s Important: Symposium Highlights


On December 11th, 2015, McGill’s Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) held a symposium for faculty with a focus on translating aspirations for student learning into pedagogical strategies. The event, Teaching What’s Important: Educating Students for Today and Tomorrow, called upon a range of university professors to showcase their strategies and experiences, and join the discussion about the possibilities for undergraduate education at McGill. With a turnout of 135 (a mostly faculty members, but also staff and a few students), the discussion was certainly though-provoking. For some highlights, please see below: Continue reading Teaching What’s Important: Symposium Highlights

The Eight-Minute Lecture Keeps Students Engaged


Faculty Focus has an interesting article on reframing lectures into eight minute sections. Many studies have demonstrated that students retain very little from lectures. However, lectures in small segments (interspersed with active learning strategies) can be a helpful strategy to help frame concepts and facilitate student focus.

The article provides some guidelines on how to implement an “eight-minute lecture” and gives some concrete examples of their use. Continue reading The Eight-Minute Lecture Keeps Students Engaged

What’s the prof gonna ask?


Every August, I teach a 3-credit course at McGill called Academic English Seminar, which is an academic skills course for incoming undergraduate students who speak English as a second or other language. The course runs 39 hours over 13 days. It’s intended to support students’ transition from high school or CEGEP learning to university learning. Every time I teach the course, I introduce at least one new topic or one new learning strategy. Last year, the new topic was the learning merits of taking handwritten notes versus laptop notes. This year, I introduced students to a study strategy to help them address a question students frequently pose when they’re studying together for a test: What’s the prof gonna ask? The strategy was the application of Bloom’s Taxonomy of levels of learning to the creation of questions as a means for anticipating what information professors might deem important in the readings they assign. I encouraged students to think: Why would the professor have assigned this reading? What are the salient points the professor wants me to draw from this reading? Continue reading What’s the prof gonna ask?

Take the active learning challenge


A great article by Chris Buddle on his efforts to include active learning in every class. Congratulations to Chris on his success! We look forward to hearing more as the term progresses.

Arthropod Ecology

Dear Instructors,

Here’s your challenge: Include active learning activities in every lecture.

Just do it.

Active learning is a philosophy and approach in which teaching moves beyond the ‘podium-style’ lecture and directly includes students in the learning process. There is certainly a big movement out there to include active learning in the classroom, there is evidence that it works, and active learning strategies have been around for a long time. Active learning can make learning experience more interactive, inclusive, and help embrace different learning styles. Active learning places the student in a more central role in a classroom, and allows students to engage with the course and course content in a different way.

So, why doesn’t everyone embrace active learning?

Without a doubt, it can take a bit of extra work. This post by Meghan Duffy provides an excellent case study, and illustrates the benefits and drawbacks of…

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