Creating inclusive learning spaces for all or most students is an important and challenging task whether you’re teaching a class of 20 students or 500. Each class you teach is unique as you have new students semester to semester and their needs and interests change over time. Yet, keeping students engaged and focused so they are able to succeed in the class remains a central goal for all instructors. One way to ensure students continue to be engaged in your class semester after semester is to take a learner-centered approach.
Telling Berkeley’s story and sharing evidence-based strategies on teaching and learning.
January 6, 2023
November 21, 2022
How to maintain student engagement and attention in classes is a long-standing question for many educators. Yet this question has come particularly to the fore in the wake of the emergency remote instruction necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic where uses of technology for learning have become a more commonplace part of the classroom environment.
October 11, 2022
Understanding how and when students are engaged in your class can be challenging in both physical and virtual spaces since students participate differently depending on personality type, cultural background, language fluency, and individual ability. Instructors can use an online discussion platform like Ed Discussion to provide an additional channel for students to express themselves, whether they are teaching in-person or online.
August 1, 2022
February 15, 2022
At the start of the Spring semester, 22 educators from across campus gathered to discuss lessons learned from their experiences teaching during the pandemic. We noted a commonality rather quickly: our tried-and-true pedagogical strategies produced unexpected learning outcomes as students faced new and protracted challenges. Many of us found ourselves innovating existing strategies, trying new ones, or dusting off previously-shelved strategies to use in our classrooms last fall.
November 18, 2021
As we approach RRR Week and Final Exams, it’s a good time to remember that some students may benefit from specific cognitive and metacognitive learning strategies for how to learn your course content. You can introduce students to general cognitive learning strategies, actions and frameworks to encode new information, and share metacognitive learning strategies, activities to guide them in thinking about their learning process. Most students are likely familiar with the structurally cognitive strategies such as concept maps, but may not be familiar with others relevant to your course.
September 20, 2021
Asynchronous discussions have long been a feature in online classes as a way to provide opportunities for students to interact with each other and build a community. Many instructors included asynchronous discussions in their remote instruction classes this past year to achieve this same goal. Even if you are teaching in-person this semester, asynchronous discussions can be a useful component to your class as they give opportunities for students to interact outside of scheduled class time and allow for students who are participating remotely to still engage with the class community.
August 6, 2021
Students, like many faculty and staff, are returning to campus after more than a year of remote teaching and learning. What are some of the challenges students are likely to face as they prepare for an in-person Fall semester? How can instructors support student learning in a way that is inclusive and responds to students’ new and ongoing needs? We share a summary of recent findings on students’ experiences with remote learning and offer instructional strategies designed to enhance student learning as we prepare for a different kind of “normal.”
March 15, 2021
Mid-semester check-ins are an opportunity to learn more about students’ learning and their experiences in the classroom. In October’s Spotlight on Teaching and Learning, CTL highlighted the benefits of implementing a mid-semester check-in and shared strategies for navigating student feedback productively. We’re taking a second look at mid-semester check-ins to share new strategies for implementing student feedback activities in remote classrooms.
February 12, 2021
At the end of the Fall semester, we shared a “Spotlight on Teaching and Learning” featuring strategies for reflective teaching. In this post, we also solicited reflections and insights from our UC Berkeley teaching community. Many wonderful ideas and considerations were submitted. In perusing the responses, we identified three themes that surfaced across multiple reflections.
December 15, 2020
Reflecting on our teaching experiences, from the effectiveness of assignments to the opportunities for student interaction, is key to refining our courses and overall teaching practice. Reflective teaching can also help us gain closure on what may have felt like an especially long and challenging semester.
October 15, 2020
There are a number of benefits to implementing a mid-semester check-in. In addition to the targeted feedback provided to instructors, some studies suggest that soliciting student input can influence how students view their roles as members of the learning community and can bolster positive perceptions of their learning and the learning environment (Hurney, et al, 2014; Hunt, 2003; McGowan & Osguthorpe, 2011).
August 17, 2020
As we prepare for fall, many of us are considering how best to welcome students to our remote classrooms, our disciplines, and our campus. A number of studies have demonstrated that activities like values affirmations and social belonging interventions can be small but powerful tools to support student learning and self-acceptance. These techniques, or variations upon them, have been applied by faculty here on the Berkeley campus and elsewhere.
July 28, 2020
Are you considering ways to promote student interaction and engagement in your fall courses? There are numerous evidence-based teaching strategies that support student learning and facilitate connections to course content and among peers. One strategy, the “Jigsaw," is a collaborative learning technique that was recently discussed by Berkeley faculty colleagues attending one of this month's Remote Teaching Circles.
January 14, 2020
October 25, 2019
March 22, 2019
“Are you an inclusive instructor?” Someone recently asked me that question and I hesitated before I replied “I think so” and in the back of my mind I was thinking “but how do I know if I’m being successful at being inclusive or not?”
December 20, 2018
As the flurry of finals begins to slow, it’s useful to take a few minutes to reflect and prepare before closing the book on another successful semester. It can be tempting to quickly file away this semester’s course materials and not think about them until a few weeks before you teach the class again. At the same time, you can save yourself time and headache later by spending a few minutes now to think about what worked and what didn’t work so well in your courses this semester.
This Fall we experienced what was labeled as “the new abnormal.” Whether we were in the midst of the fires, worrying about loved ones in harm’s way, or downwind breathing dangerous smoke, northern California was rocked and ironically it wasn’t “The Big One” that did it. The fire made me rethink how I’m defining an emergency or disaster for my family and how well we’re prepared. I already had earthquake supplies but I’ve now added an air purifier for the house and a box of N95 masks to our “stash.”