Faculty Resources

Classroom Active Learning Strategies Newsletters (April 2009 through May 2012)

NEWSLETTER: Title III publishes a monthly newsletter on the topic of active learning strategies. Please click on the newsletter title to link to the issue you would like to download (PDF file). Special thanks to our active learning campus specialists, Faith Christiansen and Judi Quimby, who served as editors from April 2009 through May 2010.

May 2012 (final issue)

The May issue features excerpts from the book Engaging the Online Learner by Conrad & Donaldson.

April 2012 Issue 

The April issue features three interesting active learning strategies and information on problem-based learning.  

March 2012 Issue 

The March issue includes excerpts from: The Learning Portfolio: A Powerful Idea for Significant Learning. A link to the full article is provided as well as links to (1) the ePortfolio platform being explored through Title III and (2) an article on Using Portfolios to Support Integrative Learning: Formative Evaluation Strategies (AAC&U).

February 2012 Issue 

The February issue includes excerpts from two resources—FacultyFocus.com and The IDEA Center. Excerpts are Assessing Class Participation: One Useful Strategy, Promoting Deep Learning and Jigsaw activity from the Center for Teaching and Learning, Georgian College.

January 2012 Issue 

This issue includes excerpts from the teaching tips website at the University of Sciences in Philadelphia: Getting Students to Participate in Class, Getting Students to Show Their Work or Thought Process (split-page answer sheet), Making Student Presentations a Better Learning Experience for Listeners, Getting Students to Engage in Their Reading and How to Respond to the Student Question...Did I Miss Anything in Class Today? This issue also provides links to rubrics for grading class participation.

December 2011 Issue 

The December issue includes three excerpts from Student Engagement Techniques – A Handbook for College Faculty by Elizabeth F. Barkley: Critical Incident Questionnaire, Think Again! Technique and Offering a Flexible Menu of Learning Activities/Giving Students Greater Control Over Their Grades.

November 2011 Issue 

The November issue includes these excerpts from We’re Born to Learn – Using the Brain’s Natural Learning Process to Create Today’s Curriculum by Rita Smilkstein: Five Rules on How the Brain Learns, Constructing New Knowledge, No-Fail Activities and The Seven Magic Words.

October 2011 Issue 

The October issue focuses on excerpts from the book "Promoting Active Learning: Strategies for the College Classroom" by Meyers and Jones. Topics include: First-Day Survey, What Teachers Would Rather Not Know and two teaching tips titled "Where Are You Stuck?" and "Reading Tests."

September 2011 Issue 

This month’s issue focuses on excerpts from the book "Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom" by Bonwell and Eison. Topic titles include, "Are Large Classes a Special Case?" and "The Interactive Lecture, Questioning, and Debates."

August 2011 Issue 

Included in the August issue are excerpts from "Active Learning: Cooperation in the College Classroom" by Johnson, Johnson and Smith. Topics include: "New Paradigm of Teaching," "Cooperative Note-Taking," "Turn to Your Neighbor Summaries," "Progress Checks," and "Changing Students’ Attitudes Toward Academic Work," plus a list of individual and group project ideas. 

 May 2011 Issue 

The May issue focuses on the use of technology at other institutions and includes tips on using a wiki, Creative Commons, free polling software, Twitter, online games and supplemental videos from Khan Academy and Academic Earth.  

April 2011 Issue 

The April issue continues to focus on the use of technology and features Sue Taylor and her insights on the use of social media in business and instruction. 

March 2011 Issue 

The March issue continues to focus on the use of technology in instruction by featuring technology tools used by SWIC faculty members Melissa Rossi and Dave Collins.

February 2011 Issue 

The February issue continues to focus on the use of technology in instruction by featuring interviews with SWIC faculty members Beth Burns and Barbara Daley.

January 2011 Issue 

The January issue is first in a new series on the use of technology in instruction at SWIC and other educational institutions.

December 2010 Issue 

The December issue is the final issue focused on information from the Foundation Coalition (introduced in the September newsletter). Excerpts include planning a cooperative learning lesson, a sample content lesson, team building activities and commentaries on cooperative learning. A second article is included on guided reciprocal peer questioning. Next semester, the newsletters will focus on the integration of technology to promote student engagement.

November 2010 Issue 

In the November issue, more information is provided on active/cooperative learning from the Foundation Coalition (introduced in the September issue) that focuses specifically on effective ways to form collaborative groups.

October 2010 Issue 

In the October issue, more information is provided on active/cooperative learning from the Foundation Coalition that builds on ideas introduced in the September issue. Specifically, how can we set the climate for effective cooperative learning and overcome student resistance to group activities?

September 2010 Issue 

In the September issue, excerpts and strategies from a publication on the three pillars of cooperative learning by The Foundation Coalition have been selected. The three pillars are: positive interdependence, promotive interaction and individual accountability. The Foundation Coalition is one of eight engineering coalitions funded by the National Science Foundation.

August 2010 Issue 

For the first issue of the 2010-11 academic year, this issue features excerpts from the article "Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education" by Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson. The issue notes the importance of encouraging active learning in the classroom. The article also includes a link to an online inventory/survey in which faculty can assess their effectiveness in these seven practices.

May 2010 Issue 

In the last issue of the academic year (May), editors Faith and Judi have selected an article on “Rich Environments for Active Learning.” Also, thank you to a faculty member here at SWIC who forwarded a student concern to the newsletter editors. As a visual learner, the student did not feel she was able to comprehend the lectures as they were spoken by one of her instructors. One suggestion for faculty to consider is creating visual/printed notes to accompany a lecture for these types of learners.

April 2010 Issue 

In the April issue, the newsletter editors have selected an article that provides information on concrete active learning strategies including consolidation of student notes, ungraded writing exercises, feedback lectures and guided lectures.

March 2010 Issue 

In this issue, Faith and Judi share excerpts from an interesting article by a history instructor who seeks to answer a common student question, “Why do I need this class?”  Using some interesting strategies, this faculty member was able to help students “see” a connection between history and their own personal experiences, other disciplines and skills used in daily life. 

February 2010 Issue 

In the February issue, Faith and Judi share another excerpt from the article by Richard Felder and Rabic Brent. Have you ever worried about students working on teams who “hitchhike” and get credit for work they did not help create? See what the authors have to say about that common concern. This issue also features insights on how being forced to take responsibility for your own learning can be associated with emotional reactions to trauma and grief. 

January 2010 Issue 

In this issue, Judi and Faith share an article available through North Carolina State University’s Web site by Richard Felder and Rebecca Brent addressing legitimate concerns of faculty regarding integrating more group or student-centered instructional strategies.

November-December 2009 Issue 

The newsletter editors selected an article from the Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology that specifically speaks to these strategies: student-led review sessions, analysis or reactions to videos, student debates, student-generated exam questions and mini-research proposals or projects. 

October 2009 Issue 

This issue features excerpts from an article, “The Best Things That Educators Do” (with a link to the full article).

September 2009 Issue  

The September issue features articles on a “Welcome to College" game and teaching with films. 

August 2009 Issue  

In August, editors Faith and Judi selected two student success strategies from On Course to feature: “Why do I miss class?” and “Brown-Bag Introductions.”

May 2009 Issue 

This issue features "Active Review Strategies" and a short article on "Authentic Student Voices" (from On Course).

April 2009 Issue  

In this first issue, editors and faculty members Judi Quimby and Faith Christiansen feature an article on the "Validation of Student Engagement" and preview their faculty learning circle on active learning using Dr. Mel Silberman’s book, “Active Learning – 101 Strategies to Teach Any Subject.” 

Federal funds were used to support the Title III project.