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Teaching Matters 1 Teaching Matters The Teaching and Learning Center of the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia Volume 2, Issue 1 1999 Fall Issue How can we promote greater learning? Phyllis Blumberg, Ph.D. Nationally higher education is in the midst of many major changes. For example, industries, the government, and society at large are expecting more from college graduates. Knowledge within the scientific and clinical disciplines has changed. The student population is much more diverse than it was even twenty years ago. All of these changes have led faculty and administrators, as well as employers of our graduates to become engaged in dialogues addressing if the America’s colleges and universities are achieving their intended purposes. Many have questioned how effective have we, as a nation, been in preparing college graduates for leadership roles. Most people agree that leaders need critical thinking, problem solving, interpersonal and communication skills. Therefore, one of the major purposes of higher education is to help students develop these skills. This emphasis on helping students to develop these critical skills places a greater focus on student learning. Possible ways to promote greater learning are through learner-centered approaches. This article describes alternative learner-centered environments that we could try. It is not necessary to implement all of these methods; making small changes can foster a greater learner-centered culture. All of these suggestions come from the current higher education literature. LEARNER-CENTERED APPROACHES: Increased use of student or learner–centered approaches focuses the educational activities on the students and how they learn. Characteristics of these learner-centered approaches to education may include multiple and diverse opportunities for active learning, learning within a social context, providing students environments to see the relevance and importance of what they are learning, and providing varied opportunities to succeed. Understanding and acknowledging students’ self-efficacy of their own academic abilities can help students to achieve greater academic success. The impact of a college education is largely determined by the student’s quality of effort and his/her level of involvement in all aspects of college life. (continued on page 7) IN THIS ISSUE 1 How can we promote greater learning? 2 Call for OWL Award Nominations 2 Fall Calendar of USP, Teaching and Learning Center Events 3 OWL InnOvations With Learning Awardees 1998/99 3 Special Interest Groups Forming 4 Overview of September Table Talk Teaching: Tips and Techniques (T5) 4 Overview of September Table Talk Teaching and Technology (T4) 5 Educational Conferences of Note 5 Grant Money Available for Travel and Instructional Technology 6 New Resources Available in the Teaching and Learning Center Collection. 7 How can we promote greater learning? (feature article continued) Teaching Matters is published by the Teaching and Learning Center of the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Information, inquiries and comments are welcome and should be directed to: Phyllis Blumberg, Ph.D., Director The Teaching and Learning Center, GH-218 University of the Sciences in Philadelphia 600 South Forty-third Street Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495 Phone: (215) 895-1167 or (215) 895-1168 FAX: (215) 895-1100 e-mail [email protected] or [email protected] The Teaching and Learning Center is an educational resource for all USP faculty who are interested in helping their students become more effective learners. It maintains a current collection of books and periodicals relating to teaching and learning and student assessment.Teaching Matters 2 CALL FOR OWL AWARD NOMINATIONS Submit your application for the Teaching and Learning Center’s Annual OWL Awards INNOVATIONS WITH LEARNING In memory of Patricia Leahy The OWL Awards have been established to acknowledge faculty efforts in fine tuning the craft and furthering the art of teaching. WHAT’S NEW IN YOUR CLASSROOM? Faculty members’ use of new instructional strategies typically require much planning time, a willingness to take risks, and delayed or even uncertain reward. The OWL Award recognizes those faculty members who are currently experimenting with their teaching. If you have developed and used an instructional strategy, within the last 2 years, in a way that is unique for you, you are eligible to apply; there is no requirement that the strategy be totally original. Examples of such strategies are: giving an assignment designed to increase students’ thinking skills; using small groups within a large class; using computers in a laboratory course: incorporating student analyses of case studies into a course; or developing an interdisciplinary approach to a topic. Groups of faculty members who have collaborated on the development of a new approach are also encouraged to apply. Full-time University faculty members who are in their third year or more of employment at USP may apply. Individuals who receive an OWL in one academic year are not eligible to apply the next year, but may apply again any time after that. If you would like to be considered for an OWL award please send a 1-2-page letter of application by Friday, January 14th , 2000 to Phyllis Blumberg, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center. All nominees will present an informal poster at an OWL presentation to be held in the spring. PLEASE INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IN YOUR LETTER. Description: Provide a description, in some detail, of the new strategy. How you arrived at the idea? What characteristics of this strategy make it conducive to enhancing your students’ learning? In what type of course did you use the strategy (elective/required/clinical/ laboratory/classroom, number of students, etc.)? Feel free to attach copies of student assignments, class handouts, test questions, etc. Rationale: What were your reasons for deciding to try something different? How did this approach differ from what you have done in the past?


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