Teaching and Learning

When Restudying Trumps Retrieval (Cindy Nebel, The Learning Scientists, September 28, 2023): There is a wealth of research demonstrating that retrieving information helps individuals retain information better than restudying. But not always…

Yes, Let’s Improve Teaching (John Warner, Inside Higher Ed, September 27, 2023): Let’s go qualitative!

College Completion Most Influenced by Who’s Teaching and How (Jessica Blake, Inside Higher Ed, September 26, 2023): A new study found that high school GPA and socioeconomic status are not as determinative as instructors in helping students pass introductory college math and earn degrees. 

How Students Use Unofficial Online Backchannels for Classes (Jeffrey R. Young, EdSurge, September 7, 2023): Many professors worry that online systems like Discord and GroupMe are used for cheating, but they can also help build community.

Midterm Course Evaluations (compiled by Lew Ludwig at Denison): As we near the halfway mark, consider getting mid-semester feedback from your students. Mid-semester evaluations:

  1. If necessary, provide a chance to correct student misconceptions or make changes to the course schedule, activities, etc.
  2. Allow students to reflect on their expectations, efforts, and learning.
  3. Let students know you care about their input.

Here are some sample mid-semester evaluations you can use or adapt for your course:

  • This check-off format from Seattle University makes it easy for your students to provide specific feedback and some open-ended questions.
  • This metacognitive mid-term reflection, based on the article Transforming Midterm Evaluations into a Metacognitive Pause, asks students to think more deeply about their learning.
  • Here is a Google form of a course evaluation created by Dr. Annabel Edwards, Chemistry. This video explains how to edit this form.
  • Here is an open-ended form I’ve used for several years with a hidden easter egg. After students submit their responses, the submission page congratulates them and explains how to submit their anonymous screenshot for a free pass on the following daily practice (a formative exercise I use three times a week).

Above all
: don’t forget to respond to the feedback promptly – this is critical! Let students know you heard their suggestions and discuss how you intend to respond. The section responding to the feedback gives helpful suggestions.

Pedagogy of Humanization: Academic Minute (Chelda Smith Kondo, Inside Higher Ed, September 26, 2023): Academic Minute video in which Kondo examines the idea that who you are influences how you teach.

Grade Gaps Reflect Court Problems, Not Students’ Shortcomings (Jessica Blake, Inside Higher Ed, September 25, 2023): A recent report on two studies adds to a growing volume of research concluding that altering the structure of certain courses can help close equity gaps.

A.I. and Higher Ed

Establish Guidelines for AI Use (Ashley Mowreader, Inside Higher Ed, September 28, 2023): As professors grapple with new technologies in the classroom, a report from Cornell offers suggestions for best practices and policies related to generative artificial intelligence.


Advocating for AI in Higher Education: A panel discussion sponsored by Inside Higher Ed featuring several higher education professionals who regularly use AI, along with one ed tech expert who is advocating for thoughtful AI use in and around higher education. October 5, 2023 at 2:00 PM Eastern. Register here.

Extra Credit Reading (and Viewing)

Ruth Simmons delivers the 2023 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities (YouTube Video: 1hr, 36 min.): “The humanities greatly enlarge this capacity and protect the ability to see beyond measures that stifle truth and access to knowledge. If we protect and facilitate their reach deep into the underserved communities, the humanities will be a lifelong endowment to the poor and one that can never be taken away from them.”

Higher Ed’s Ruinous Resistance to Change (Brian Rosenberg, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 25, 2023): The academy excels at preserving the status quo. It’s time to evolve. (See, as well, “On the Bookshelf” below.)

Want Social Mobility? Reforming Elite College Admissions Won’t Get Us There (Alison Badgett, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 25, 2023): A few hundred more spots for the non-ultra-rich won’t transform society. Here’s what will.

On the Bookshelf

“Whatever It Is, I’m Against It”: Resistance to Change in Higher Education by Brian Rosenberg (Harvard University Press). Interview with Rosenberg by Susan H. Greenberg at Inside Higher Ed (September 28, 2023). For a critical view of Rosenberg’s book, see Timothy Burke’s “Here’s What I’m Against: The Ruinous Addiction to Undermotivated Change” (Eight by Seven Substack, September 28, 2023).

Have a short article or some news related to teaching and learning at your institution that you’d like to share with colleagues? Send your contribution along to us. Also, please email Colleen Monahan Smith (smith@glca.org) if you have colleagues who would like to receive this weekly report.

Steven Volk (steven.volk@oberlin.edu), Editor

GLCA/GLAA Consortium for Teaching and Learning
   Lew Ludwig (ludwigl@denison.edu)

   Colleen Monahan Smith (smith@glca.org)

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