Active Learning in the College Classroom

Teaching Practices that Foster Student Engagement

Workshop and materials prepared by:

Eric Gobel, Department of Psychology
Jane Marone, Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition
Mike Stieff, Department of Chemistry
Maria Varelas, Department of Curriculum & Instruction and Director of the Center of the Advancement of Teaching-Learning Communities (TLC)

Explore a variety of instructional practices that offer students opportunities to engage and interact with content and each other in meaningful and diverse ways. Topics discussed in the presentation include concept mapping, multimodality, peer instruction and group work, use of classroom response systems (e.g., clickers), and frequent informal assessment of student thinking. Understand principles behind each practice, and demonstrate ways to enact this practice in large and small classes. Participants will have the opportunity to develop ways to implement these practices in their own classes.

Workshop Material (available to UIC users only)

Materials are available to UIC users via the following link:

Examples and Resources:

Concept Mapping

Research Publications on CmapTools & Concept Mapping

Hay D, Kinchin I, Lygo-Baker S. 2008. Making learning visible: the role of concept mapping in higher education. Studies in Higher Education 33(3): 295-311.

Canas A.J. 2003. A Summary of Literature Pertaining to the Use of Concept Mapping Techniques and Technologies for Education and Performance Support. The Institute for Human and Machine Cognition.

Eppler MJ. 2006. A comparison between concept maps, mind maps, conceptual diagrams, and visual metaphors as complementary tools for knowledge construction and sharing. Information Visualization 5: 202-210.

Using concepts maps to assess learning

Using Clickers

Bruff, D. (2009). Teaching with classroom response systems: Creating active learning environments. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass (Wiley).

Improved Learning in a Large-Enrollment Physics Class

Supporting Online Material for “Improved Learning in a Large-Enrollment Physics Class” (with examples of clicker questions in the domain of physics)

Role Playing

Role-Play: An Often Misused Active Learning Strategy

Using Role-Play Scenarios in the IR Classroom: An Examination of Exercises on Peacekeeping Operations and Foreign Policy Decision Making

Understanding Social Injustice by Walking in Another Person’s Shoes

Responding to Overt Displays of Prejudice: A Role-Playing Exercise

Performing arts (dance and theatre) and their role in learning: Science Choreography

Role-Playing History Game Gets Students Jazzed

A mock legislative debate to enhance and integrate student understanding of climate change science, policy, economics and ethics in InTeGrate (Interdisciplinary Teaching About Earth for a Sustainable Future)