For practitioners and scholars of teaching and learning at The University of Iowa
Volume 1 | Issue 3
April 2015

Stretching Our Students
New Video on Engaging Students Online
 New TILE Classrooms
Upcoming Events
Reading Digitally: Successful Strategies for Engaging Students in e-Texts
April 15, 12:00 - 1:30 pm
2390 University Capitol Centre 

Center for Teaching

By Wayne Jacobson, Director, University of Iowa Office of Assessment


The 2014 Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey of all UI undergraduates provides several insights into the campus climate for diversity. Findings suggest both that students' time at UI supports the IOWA Challenge to "Stretch" them in their understanding of diversity and also that faculty members can play a critical role in stretching students farther.


Students see UI as a place where they are growing in their understanding of diversity.  SERU asks students to rate their understanding of specific areas of diversity at the time they entered UI and at the time they took the survey.  Comparing self-assessments of these two points in time, we see gains in all areas.  Although self-reported gains don't by themselves demonstrate learning, this consistent pattern suggests that students see themselves increasing in their overall understanding of diverse identities and perspectives while they are at UI.


When students report feeling unwelcome or excluded, it is generally not in response to faculty or staff.  On aggregate, students report a positive campus climate for diversity...


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Photo by Bill Adams/ The University of Iowa.

As the final month of the semester begins, instructors and students begin to worry about the many assignments, projects, papers, lab reports, presentations, quizzes, exams, and grading that must be accomplished before the end of Finals Week.  The following strategies for ongoing assessment can clarify and solidify some of the teaching and learning successes that occur during the course.

  • Ask students to self-assess their learning so far. One-minute papers, in-class discussion, online discussion boards, and other forums can provide students the opportunity to reflect on and articulate what they have learned...

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Cultivating Student Motivation

 Forrest Gump (1994)

How do you respond when a student asks whether the day's activity or discussion "will be on the exam"?


It might be encouraging to recognize the question at least demonstrates the student's extrinsic motivation to learn course material.  As UI Director of Assessment Wayne Jacobson points out, "we assess what we value," so it's understandable that students want to better appreciate what that valued content is. 


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This month's new release for The Extraordinary Teaching Project features Assistant Professor Sarah Vigmostad (Biomedical Engineering) describing how she fosters authentic learning and encourages collaborative learning across distances in her flipped online course.  The Extraordinary Teaching Project showcases the rich array of pedagogies and teaching philosophies University of Iowa instructors incorporate into their teaching.  Find more videos and associated content on The Extraordinary Teaching Project website.

 Two new TILE-Lite classrooms will join the UI general assignment classroom pool for Fall 2015. The new spaces will support student-centered, active-learning TILE pedagogy that will not depend on the more robust technology in classic TILE rooms such as 350 Van Allen and Library 1140 and 1022. 


These new spaces enable active student engagement with tablet armchairs on casters that can be arranged in small groups...


TILE Accelerator-Reinventing the Classroom and the Toilet with Engineering Instructor Craig Just

April 14, 4:00 - 5:30 pm
2520D University Capitol Centre

Reading Digitally: Successful Strategies for Engaging Students in e-Texts
April 15, 12:00 - 1:30 pm
2390 University Capitol Centre