News

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. Have an idea that you would like to share? See our guidelines and submission policy (for UC Berkeley community members). 

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

We wanted to share with you support options and resources for continued teaching and learning through bCourses and other digital tools.  Please continue to refer to Berkeley News, WarnMe alerts and other official campus communications for the latest guidance.

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.”

August 12, 2018

This fall, along with the usual excitement and apprehension that accompanies the start of a new academic year at Berkeley, nine faculty members and more than 700 students will help launch the first large general-assignment active learning classroom (ALC) on campus. Wheeler 212, which can accommodate 120 students, is a scaled-up version of the smaller ALCs that have been supporting teaching and learning on campus for the past several years.

April 30, 2018

It’s May and the first line of that old Frank Sinatra song “My Way” keeps running through my head:  “And now the end is near, and so I face the final curtain…"

March 19, 2018

March 18, 2018

January 10, 2018

I have it right now this very instant --- your Attention.  You’ve given it for a few minutes but if this content doesn’t continue to earn it, your Attention will move on.  It can’t help it.  The Brain is a data-seeking missile constantly gathering key information about surroundings in order to assess what is vital to your survival.  If it determines the information on this page isn’t relevant, your Attention will automatically shift to something seemingly more important (perhaps that text message on your phone).

I’m not speaking of lying or delivering fake news, I’m talking about an actual story. Consider this: A story communicates something, by definition, and can entertain, amuse, delight, divert, provoke, offend, disturb, disappoint, but in all, a story can instruct. There’s a lot of background to storytelling—the what and how to use in lecture, but let’s first discuss the why.

January 2, 2018

Robert Frank says any course, but especially an introductory course, can have no more than five big ideas [The Economic Naturalist, Basic Books, 2008] not fifty (and by the way, professor, none of them is your cutting edge research!). He claims trying to cram too much material into a syllabus actually decreases learning: that students acquire knowledge and skills when the menu is selective and they get to actually use the material, not just have “too much stuff” told to them, during the course.

October 29, 2017

Every second of a class meeting matters so it’s natural to look for ways to streamline the administrative tasks that are a part of course management. Taking attendance is an undertaking that requires time.  The larger the class, potentially the more time required. 

August 14, 2017

Once upon a time, a Syllabus was written.  It was beautiful and contained most of nearly 50 possible information elements that every Syllabus could have.  It was reviewed by the curriculum committee, revised and finally approved.

It waited anxiously for the semester to begin.

April 25, 2017

I want to talk about thinking as teaching.  Let me start with a story.