Telling Berkeley’s story about teaching and learning, across campus and in the public sphere.

Teaching is at the heart of what we do—feeding our collective hunger for knowledge and knowledge sharing. In an effort to enhance teaching-focused dialogue on the Berkeley campus, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) brings you the Berkeley Teaching Blog. See our guidelines and submission policy.

January 15, 2014

1. Every talk needs a story.

The introduction should introduce your audience to the problem you’re trying to solve. By the end of it, your audience should know what the problem is and be convinced that it’s an important problem worthy of your time and effort. Establish what you hope to accomplish.

November 20, 2013

Since I get asked this question a lot, including by the media, I thought it’d be useful to blog it.

What MOOCs have I taught?

October 17, 2013

"If you can’t prove what you want to prove, demonstrate something else and pretend that they are the same thing. In the daze that follows the collision of statistics with the human mind, hardly anybody will notice the difference." 

-D. Huff (1954)

October 1, 2013

Since 1975, course evaluations at Berkeley have included the following question:

Considering both the limitations and possibilities of the subject matter and course, how would you rate the overall teaching effectiveness of this instructor?

1 (not at all effective), 2, 3, 4 (moderately effective), 5, 6, 7 (extremely effective)

August 19, 2013

1. They aren’t you.

A large part of your job is diagnosis. Every complex concept requires a grasp of many prerequisite concepts, which you’re already so comfortable with that it’s easy to pretend that everyone else is, too. You’re going to need to identify which of these concepts is holding the student back.

2. They won’t be you at the end of the class.

July 18, 2013

The emerging field of Mind, Brain and Education – a confluence of neuroscience, cognitive science and education – has sparked my interest for some time.

June 21, 2013

A conversation with a colleague earlier this week got me thinking about how teachers not only prepare a lecture, but practice delivering a lecture. These are not necessarily the same, nor are they mutually exclusive. Practice is merely one thing a teacher should do when preparing a lecture—but is too often slighted or even ignored. Delivering a lecture is not a far cry from delivering a speech.

June 15, 2013

I was a young 3rd year Ph.D. student. One of my faculty advisors, who taught graduate courses in the Higher and Postsecondary Education program gave me the incredible opportunity to design and teach a course from scratch on “The College Student in America.” I was humbled, honored, excited, and nervous. Right away, I started researching primary texts, then secondary texts.

June 11, 2013

Admittedly, I am a huge proponent of active learning and finding ways to move beyond lecture as the primary and sometimes sole mechanism of engaging students in learning. Even with that said, I think that much of the conversation about pedagogy in recent years has swung too far away from lecture and neglected to recognize the powerful learning that can happen as a result of lecture as just one pedagogical technique.

June 10, 2013

I recently had a discussion with a colleague who wanted to explore ways to keep his students engaged (and attending) his large lecture class.