Center for Effective Teaching

Helpful Resources

We strongly recommend attendance at CET workshops for faculty members working to enhance their teaching effectiveness and continue their growth as instructors. Workshops provide both information and opportunities for faculty members to discuss their ideas with colleagues and receive feedback as they begin to implement effective strategies. However, for those individuals who are unable to attend workshops or who are looking for even more information than can be shared during those in-person events, we’ve compiled the following list of external resources to aid CNU faculty in quickly accessing relevant information on a diversity of topics related to teaching and learning.

Course Design and Assessment

Planning for a new course or restructuring an existing course can be overwhelming. CET offers a two-day workshop on course design, usually the first Thursday and Friday of each August.

Establishing meaningful learning goals is the first step in effective course design. These learning goals define what students should know and be able to do once they’ve completed your course.

Articulate Your Learning Objectives
Carnegie Mellon University, Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation

Basic information on establishing learning objectives for your course, as well as links to information on how clear learning objectives enhance student learning, action verbs to consider when setting learning objectives, and sample learning objectives for a diversity of courses.


Backward Design
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Teaching and Learning Lab

Basic information on establishing learning outcomes based on the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that students should gain in your course and links to two learning taxonomies that can help you frame your learning objectives.


Course Design
University of Texas, Faculty Innovation Center

Frames learning outcomes as being generated from the big ideas and essential questions that center your course; from these big ideas come often unmeasurable student understandings and from those understandings come assessable student learning outcomes.

The second step in the course design process is selecting and organizing course content that will support the learning goals that you’ve established. Although this process relies heavily on your expertise in the field that you’re teaching, it is essential to make critical decisions about what content is necessary to include in your course. Less content leads to more learning as you are able to spend more time providing students with opportunities to practice and apply course material (see information under Teaching Techniques and Strategies for assistance in developing these opportunities).

Plan Your Course Content and Schedule
Carnegie Mellon University, Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation

Helpful tips for deciding on course topics and organizing course material in an effective semester schedule.


Course Content Selection and Organization
University of Waterloo, Centre for Teaching Excellence

Tips for finding, selecting, and organizing course content.

The final step in course design is determining how to assess whether students have achieved the learning goals that you have established for your course. An effective assessment plan should include both formative assessment (low stakes activities that provide feedback to students on how close they are to achieving a learning objective) and summative assessment (final assignments or examinations used to assign course grades). Developing good formative and summative assessment is a broad topic; the following websites should get you going in the right direction, but we encourage you to consider signing up for a CET consultation if you need further assistance developing your assessment plan or finding resources to assist you in designing specific assessment activities.

Check for Learning
University of Texas, Faculty Innovation Center

Comprehensive information on assessment, including links to pages on planning your assessment strategy, assessing during learning (i.e., formative assessment), assessing at the end of learning (i.e., summative assessment), writing good questions, providing feedback to students, and effective grading.


How to Assess Student Learning and Performance
Carnegie Mellon University, Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation

Information on using assignments and exams for summative assessment, classroom assessment techniques for formative assignment, assessing group work, and effective use of rubrics.

Classroom Assessment Techniques
Vanderbilt University, Center for Teaching

Description of classroom assessment techniques that can be used as formative assessment for students during class sessions.


Low-Stakes Writing Assignments
University of Waterloo, Centre for Teaching Excellence

Examples of “low-stakes” writing assignments that can be used in or out of the classroom to enhance learning and allow instructors to provide feedback on student learning prior to longer, summative essays.

Preparing Tests and Exams
University of Waterloo, Centre for Teaching Excellence

Questions to consider regarding the role of examinations in the broader course design, focusing on why the exam is being given, what is to be assessed, and how to design fair exams.


Writing Good Multiple Choice Test Questions
Vanderbilt University, Center for Teaching

Important tips for writing good multiple choice questions, as well as information on writing questions that test higher order thinking skills.


Assignment Design Checklist
University of Waterloo, Centre for Teaching Excellence

Useful questions to consider when designing an effective assignment, including how it fits into the overall course design and the resources that will be necessary for student success, as well as tips for writing the assignment description that will be given to students.


Types of Assignments and Tests
University of Waterloo, Centre for Teaching Excellence

A list of assignment and test types that can act as effective assessments across a diversity of courses.

Teaching Techniques and Strategies

There is no “one size fits all” approach for deciding on the best teaching techniques and strategies to use in your classroom. Instead, you should adopt those strategies that you feel will best allow students to achieve the learning goals for your course and play to your individual strengths as an instructor. Generally, it is important to provide regular opportunities for students to actively apply and synthesize course material, rather than simply presenting information for an entire class period. The diversity of teaching techniques that may assist you with achieving your learning goals is vast, but we’ve included resources on four of the most commonly encountered issues: planning a class session, incorporating active learning into each class period, effective discussion techniques, and effective lecture techniques. We encourage you to sign up for a CET consultation to further discuss the teaching strategies that might work best for you or to obtain additional resources on strategies not included here. The CET also has books covering a diversity of teaching techniques that are available for faculty members to borrow.

Planning a Class Session
University of Illinois, Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning

Useful tips for beginning a class session, organizing the body of a class session while periodically checking for student understanding, and ending a class session.


Course Design - Planning a Class
University of Waterloo, Centre for Teaching Excellence

Steps for designing a class session around your goals and associated learning activities, while keeping time management in mind.

Active learning refers to a diversity of different techniques that you can use in your classroom to actively engage students in thinking about the course material.

Active Learning
Harvard University, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning

Explanation of the benefits of active learning, examples of active learning strategies, and a tip sheet for successfully incorporating active learning into your classroom.


Active Learning Activities
University of Waterloo, Centre for Teaching Excellence

Descriptions of numerous active learning techniques that can easily be incorporated into your classroom.

Discussions
University of Texas, Faculty Innovation Center

Links to steps for planning an effective discussion, strategies that can be used for whole-class and small-group discussions, and structured learning activities for discussion-based classes.


Instruction Strategies - Discussions
Carnegie Mellon University, Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation

Excellent and comprehensive information on effective discussion techniques, including questioning strategies, maintaining direction and focus, ensuring student participation, and synthesizing the major ideas that students should learn from a discussion.

Instructional Strategies - Lectures
Carnegie Mellon University, Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation

Information on structuring lectures, holding students’ attention, and incorporating interactivity.


Lecturing
Vanderbilt University, Center for Teaching

Tips for creating effective and engaging visual aids and making lecture more interactive through incorporation of active learning techniques.

Almost all instructors will, unfortunately, find themselves dealing with issues of classroom incivility, cheating and/or plagiarism at some point during their career. It is important to deal with these issues in a timely, consistent and compassionate manner. Faculty members should know that they are not alone in dealing with these issues; the Center for Honor Enrichment and Community Standards (CHECS), the CET and department chairs can all be useful resources.

Center for Honor Enrichment and Community Standards
Christopher Newport University

CHECS provides support for faculty dealing with all forms of academic misconduct; the website includes contact information, links to flowcharts describing the steps involved with cases of misconduct, advice for faculty members, and FAQs for both students and faculty.


Classroom Environment
University of Illinois, Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning

Comprehensive resources on dealing with cheating and plagiarism, addressing classroom incivility, and creating an inclusive environment in your classroom.


Addressing Problematic Student Behavior
Carnegie Mellon University, Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation

Causes of and solutions for classroom incivility.

quick edit report a problem