Introducing: The Commons
Find practical online/blended course planning strategies. More content will be added throughout the summer!
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How to Spend Class Time

There are a wide variety of evidence-based instructional approaches that create engaging class environments, here are a few approaches being used to create collaboration and problem solving in small and large classes at UT:

  • Peer Instruction: Students prepare for class and give instructors feedback about what they found confusing or difficult.  During class, students experience cycles of mini-lectures interspersed with peer discussion of conceptual questions that work to elicit, confront, and resolve misconceptions students may hold. For more information, visit the Peer Instruction Blog.

  • Team-based Learning (TBL): Students prepare before class and experience readiness-assurance quiz over the content at the start of class (first as individuals and then as a team). Teams get immediate feedback on their performance while instructors address gaps in understanding via mini-lectures. Next, teams engage in structured application activities that conclude with teams simultaneously making a specific choice.  For more information, watch video about Team Based Learning (length: 12 minutes).

  • Case-based Learning:  Students work together in small groups with guidance from the instructor to analyze the problem and evaluate a given course of action or decide on one of their own.  For more information, visit Case-based Teaching.

  • Process-oriented Guided Inquiry Learning: POGIL activities are designed around the learning cycle where students explore data or information guided by questions, generate conclusions based on the data, and apply these concepts in new situations.  The activities are structured to develop process skills, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration.  For more information visit POGIL.

Assessment Strategies

Assessment techniques can help inform and enhance learning when questions that measure student understanding are embedded into in-class learning activities:

  • Provides students with feedback about what they know and do not know.
  • Provides instructors with real-time data that informs instruction.
  • Encourages students to engage during class by holding them accountable for their preparation.

Leveraging Technology for Learning

A Classroom Response System (CRS) allows instructors to ask questions to the class, then immediately gather and display student responses.  There are many options on the market that offer a range of functionality depending upon what you are wanting to achieve. iClicker is supported by UT and popular option among our faculty.  For information about how to get the most out of classroom response system, watch How to Use Clickers Effectively (length: 12 minutes).