Instructors: October 23rd is Active Learning Day–Learn How to Get Involved!

Last year, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced Active Learning Day as part of a nationwide effort to improve STEM higher education. Today, Project Kaleidoscope of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is proud to invite you to join us as a change agent at the forefront of STEM higher education reform.

Learn more about AAC&U’s Project Kaleidoscope and the 2017 Active Learning Day
How can you participate in active learning?

  • Spend at least 10 minutes implementing a culturally responsive STEM teaching strategy that promotes active learning in your classroom (Culturally Responsive Teaching is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning);
  • Identify innovative ways to deepen and extend your departmental/institutional commitment to inclusive STEM higher education reform throughout the week, academic year, and beyond;
  • Tell a friend! Reach out to at least one colleague (in either a STEM or non-STEM discipline), and engage in dialogue around what they can do to implement similar strategies in their classroom;
  • Tweet or post on social media about your participation using #ActiveLearningDay2017; and
  • Share with others what you did on Active Learning Day by creating and uploading a two-minute video! Upload the video to YouTube and send us the link at We will showcase your effort on STEM Central.


Interested in participating and/or need help with making a video? Contact to schedule a videographer to stop by your classroom while you engage your students in an active learning exercise!


EdTech resources for active learning in the classroom

Metacognition And Learning: Strategies For Instructional Design

“Metacognitive strategies facilitate learning how to learn. You can incorporate these, as appropriate, into eLearning courses, social learning experiences, pre- and post-training activities and other formal or informal learning experiences.”


This article provides ten strategies for incorporating metacognitive strategies into teaching and learning.

  1. Ask Questions
  2. Foster Self Reflection
  3. Encourage Self Questioning
  4. Teach Strategies Directly
  5. Promote Autonomous Learning
  6. Provide Access to Mentors
  7. Solve Problems with a Team
  8. Think Aloud
  9. Self-Explanation
  10. Provide Opportunities for Making Errors

One simple thing you can do is have the students write two or three points that they felt were important during class that day.  Once they have had a chance to write, you as the instructor can give your two or three points that you thought were important and model how students can begin to understand what is important in your course.

“Thinking About One’s Thinking” Metacognition | Center for Teaching | Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University


This link has two articles in it. It defines what Metacognition is and gives some practical ways to implement it in learning.  How often do you stop during a lecture (or other activity) and give students a chance to process what you have been saying or doing?  Sometimes, we get so caught up in fitting everything in an 50 minute slot that we forget processing time. Those are the days that students leave dazed, with notes but maybe not a clear understanding of what the lesson was actually about.  Taking time to pause and reflect is one way to help students connect with content and with their own learning strategies.

Call for Presentations: Missouri S&T Teaching and Learning Technology 2014 Conference

TLT-header-02Educational Technology is now accepting presentation proposals for the Seventh Annual Teaching and Learning Technology Conference, scheduled for March 13-14, 2014. Interested presenters can download a copy of the Call for Presentation form at the TLT 2014 website or click one of the links below:

Call for Presentations: Word Document

Call for Presentations: PDF

Call for Presentations: Online (NEW!)

The theme for this year’s conference is Student Engagement. EdTech is looking for presentations that showcase how technology can be used to help engage students in all stages of the learning process. EdTech will review ALL submissions regardless of content.

The opening keynote speaker will be Dr. Rebecca Brent, President of Education Designs, Inc. Dr. Brent has many research interests, as outlined on her website.

As we have done for the last couple of years we will be offering several tracks for presenters and participants:

  • Teaching with Technology – Enhancing the instructional process by including a technology component
  • Blended Learning – Replacing some or all of the face-to-face communication in class with online tools
  • Best Practices in Teaching Strategies – Pedagogical theories on effective teaching (with or without technology)
  • “Hands-on” Activity – Computer labs are available for hands-on presentations or demonstrations
  • K-12 Education – By popular request, we will be offering a few sessions geared towards K-12 instructors. If you would like to present towards this audience, please use the same form available through the links above.

Proposals will be accepted until Friday, November 8, 2013. Decisions regarding acceptance will be made by Friday, November 22, 2013. Accepted presenters will be notified between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you do not hear back from us by then, then feel free to contact us by email ( or by phone (573-341-4131).

Infographic: The Power of Online Schools

Online schools are growing in popularity these days, along with MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, where students can simply enroll (or just take the course for free) and receive online education. In some cases, they can receive full certification in a particular subject area. However, not all universities will accept the validity of the content provided by a MOOC and not all MOOCs are created equal. Each person (and each institution) will have to decide whether or not a MOOC or online school is providing quality knowledge.

Here is a link to an infographic showing how the increasing prevalence of online schools is transforming education:


AMY’S PONDERINGS: Addressing Failure Rates in Introductory Courses

— Written by Amy Skyles —

With the increase in class sizes and workload for faculty, it’s often difficult to gauge student learning from day to day. Designing a course to include several formative assessments can greatly enhance student success. The Faculty Focus article, “An Approach that Decreases Failure Rates in Introductory Courses” provides several strategies for successfully incorporating formative assessment into any course. Strategies provided in the article include:

  • Socratic lecturing – frequent use of questions
  • Ungraded, active learning exercises – case studies, in class demonstrations and others
  • Clicker questions – answered both before and after discussion
  • Practice exams – given weekly and peer graded
  • Class notes summaries – students re-stated concepts taught in lecture and asked questions about uncertainties
  • Reading quizzes – available online after lecture for a brief time
  • In-class group exercises – group discussion focusing on exam-style questions 

Malcolm Hays adds

One thing Amy doesn’t mention above is the actual results described in the article above, which I highly encourage you to read. Essentially, using some or all of the strategies will result in a marked improvement in student performance.

In reviewing the strategies, it occurred to me that reading quizzes might also be beneficial to students before the lecture as well as after the lecture (at the risk of over-quizzing the students). However, when I asked my co-workers (Amy Skyles and Jeff Jennings), they both seemed to initially agree that giving a reading quiz after lecture would make more sense. After some discussion, I think we arrived at a general consensus that reading quizzes could be given before or after a lecture. The deciding factors would be the context and the purposes of the instructor.

For instance, for an introductory course in biology, where students are required to learn a lot of new vocabulary, a simple reading quiz would help students retain this new information, and then in lecture they could learn about how to apply the new vocabulary. Similarly–using the same course as an example–they could read the material, attend lecture, then take a reading quiz to gauge how well they were able to apply the material they read about to the material covered during lecture. One quiz is focusing on retaining the material, while the other is focusing on the application of the materials. Each aspect (retention and application) is essential to the learning process.

Alternative Assessments with EdTech on April 18

EdTech is hosting an eLearning Community of Practice event on Wednesday, April 18, in Norwood Hall Room 208, from 2 – 3:30 p.m. The focus of this event is using alternative assessment techniques and tools.

Summative and formative assessments are both important components to the learning process for both students and instructors. Summative assessments typically take place after the students have “learned” the material to gauge how well they actually learned the content (think standardized test for an example of summative assessment).

Formative assessments, by contrast, take place during the learning process, allowing students to practice the conceptual material while minimizing immediate accountability (formative assessments are often ungraded). Self- and peer-assessments are very effective types of formative assessments in the classroom.

A balanced implementation of summative and formative assessments will yield the greatest benefits for both students and instructors.

For more information about how formative and summative assessments might be useful to you, come to the eLearning Community of Practice on Wednesday, April 18, in Norwood Hall Room 208 from 2 – 3:30 p.m.!

(Snacks will be provided courtesy of EdTech)

Bb World 2011 — Pedagogy and Online Learning: Training Users in Backwards Design


John Doherty — Instructional Designer, Northern Arizona University
Wally Nolan — Lead Instructional Designer, Northern Arizona University

Both presenters started out by stating that online learning should be all about the pedagogy and not about the technology. In other words, instructors should not become so enamored of one particular technology that they forget to apply sound pedagogical principles when presenting content and engaging their students.

Like Missouri S&T, everyone at Northern Arizona University (NAU) is given a Blackboard course every semester. However, not everyone uses them equally well (again, like Missouri S&T).

[Read more…]

EdTech Travels to SLOAN-C Conference on March 28-29, 2001

The Educational Technology group (at least the “Ed” side consisting of Meg Brady, Angie Hammons, Julie Phelps, Barb Wilkins, and Malcolm Hays) are traveling to the 8th Annual Sloan Consortium Conference in Chicago on March 28-29, 2001. This conference is primarily about blended learning strategies.

Over the next few days, we hope to bring you some ideas discussed at the conference through the medium of this blog. Stay tuned for continuous updates!

A Dialogue for Engagement

How do you know a student is engaged in your course?  What steps do you take to foster engagement?  These are questions that every instructor begins to ask as they are doing course design as it is vital to the success of the course.  “Engaged learners work willingly, instead of by coercion, and approach their assignments as something that matters to them personally.  The spirit of engendered by engaged learners in a course is infectious, spreading among and sustaining all participants,” states an EDUCAUSE article in September/October issue (EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 45, no. 5 (September/October 2010): 38-56).  The article goes on to give examples from five different instructors on how they foster engagement.

A Dialogue for Engagement will take you to the text of the article.

How would you foster engagement in your course?