July 2016 West Campus Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation Best Practices


Each month the West Campus Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation (CTLI) team highlights one topic of interest to our learning community in the West Campus Concentrate. We hope that you will find the information engaging and beneficial to your work in teaching and learning.

This month, we look at how to enhance the active learning experience in your classroom.

TED Talk Video: Ted Hulme: What can we learn from shortcuts?

How do you create a product people really want?

According to designer and entrepreneur Tom Hulme, the answer is simple. Invite consumers to be a part of the design process and actually think about what the consumers want. With these two simple practices, chances are you’ll create something people are interested in, something people want.

“Empathy for what your customers want is probably the biggest leading indicator of business success,” explained Tom.

In his brief TED Talk video, Tom provided three insightful examples of design that took place without consumer empathy or consideration and, ultimately, resulted in consumer-created shortcuts. The examples included three city planning flaws in which people created their own physical paths, instead of using the existing pathways. The examples demonstrated the importance of considering people — something that is seemingly a common sense concept, albeit an often overlooked element of the design process — as well as the need to adapt product design with time.

As Tom explained, once you know how to spot these shortcuts, you’ll start noticing them everywhere.

We may even notice these shortcuts on our campuses — in both a literal and figurative sense — as it’s easy to become complacent with easily-repeatable curriculum plans or lessons we draft without spending adequate time thinking about the students. So the next time you notice a student taking an alternative route to complete course or degree objectives, consider his or her path and whether it’s time to rethink, redesign and rebuild.

Click here to view the TED Talk.

Fostering Active Learning Through Faculty Development Courses

Why implement active learning strategies? How does it connect between the science of learning and learning theories? How do you build or design active learning activities so that you are meeting the needs of your students?

The Faculty and Instructional Development team at the Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation can help answer these questions.

Faculty development fosters and enhances instructional growth. As faculty, we tend to become rejuvenated after engaging, learning and disseminating information — especially when it increases creativity and innovation in the classroom.

This past month, team members from CTLI facilitated Modeling Active Learning: The Science, Theory and Practice at Destination, an annual professional development program. Our track not only focused on active learning, but it also addressed the science, theory and practice behind using these engaging strategies. In addition, our Destination track helped faculty to design and experience variations of active learning strategies in order to meet the learning outcomes of their course.

Following Destination, several faculty expressed how they ascertained a wealth of teaching techniques for their courses and ventured to our center for further assistance in order to apply it in their upcoming courses.


Adjunct Professor of English Meenawattie Udho, who also serves as the West Campus Writing Center instructional lab supervisor, expressed a sense of fervency to begin using the new resources and tools in her classroom and even in the writing center. Not only did she accumulate material for her toolbox, but she was also able to network and learn from her peers. One of the activities that she intends to implement in her classroom is Quiz Quiz Trade, a great active learning activity that enables students to take ownership of multiple concepts they are learning. As for the Writing Center, she would like to use ThingLink, an interactive media platform, for the writing center website, so that she can house all of the writing center resources for students.

A brief recap of Modeling Active Learning: The Science, Theory and Practice can be accessed by clicking here.

Resources from the Web:

Professional Development Library Resources (Available in the Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation)

Conrad, R. M., & Donaldson, J. A. (2011). Engaging the online learner: Activities and resources for creative instruction (Vol. 38). John Wiley & Sons.

Nilson, L. B. (2010). Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors. John Wiley & Sons.

For additional information or advice on engaging students in your classroom, contact or visit the Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation.

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