The following represent our core areas of educational expertise.
We have reviewed recent research on motivation and learning and understand that for students to be successful, they have to value learning, they have to expect to succeed, and they have to be active participants in their own learning. For this reason, we share information with faculty about the cognitive principles of learning as well as specific techniques that will motivate students to participate in the learning process.
Decades of research has demonstrated the value of student participation in small group learning. Collaborative learning helps to deepen students’ content knowledge and helps them to achieve higher order thinking skills. Moreover, group learning improves student openness to diversity, and it helps students from a range of backgrounds succeed in the educational endeavor. For this reason, we share information about the research base behind collaborative learning along with tried and true techniques for using collaborative learning in the college classroom.
Over the past few decades, calls for accountability have increased. More and more often, faculty are being called upon to provide evidence that students are learning. From having to demonstrate effective teaching in promotion, tenure, and merit decisions to having to document that students are achieving student learning outcomes to assessment committees and outside assessors, faculty need ways to document student learning. We believe that learning assessment should be a natural extension of teaching, and for this reason, we share with faculty our process of learning assessment along with techniques that both promote and document student learning.
We recognize that teaching online is a unique instructional form. It requires a different way of thinking about what to do and how to do it. And those differences are not simply related to the tools that we employ; they necessarily represent a pedagogical shift as well. In each of our techniques books, we describe how to implement engaging activities, collaborative learning, and learning assessment online. Thus one avenue of our sharing involves reconceptualizing instruction for the online environment.