Support Active Learning

Help Center Support Active Learning

Bridging the gap between in-class lectures and real-world experience can be a challenge. Multimedia (sound, images, animation) and computer-based simulations can be valuable tools to elucidate abstract concepts and help students participate actively in their learning. Other tools can be used to connect your students with professional and research communities in your field.

Common Goals

  • Provide students with active learning experiences.
  • Help students understand abstract or complicated ideas.
  • Show students useful applications of theoretical ideas.
  • Connect students with other professionals in the field.

Options

Options for supporting active learning are suggested below.

Electronic Discussion

Email, distribution lists and newsgroups can help you and your students access and involve professionals who work in your field. For example, you could encourage your students to use email to consult experts directly as they develop a term paper.

Links

Add hypertext or images to your course Web site that link directly to the Internet resources of other research institutions, relevant companies or people that your students may find useful throughout the quarter and beyond. You might want to provide students with links to professional organizations and Web sites for conferences in your discipline.
Planning Considerations

Catalyst Portfolio Tool

The Catalyst Portfolio Tool allows students to collect, annotate, arrange, and display on the Web a variety of digital artifacts that illustrate their accomplishments. By creating a portfolio project for your students, you can encourage them to take responsibility for their learning. Portfolios can also be published to the Web for others to view, potentially opening up the audience of the individual student's assignment to the general public.
Planning Considerations

Catalyst GoPost tool

GoPost allows you to create a threaded, Web-based discussion board for your students to compare notes, discuss assignments, and work together online. Messages can be posted and read with any Web browser. Students can attach their work to posts, reflect on others' work, and post a response. In addition, students can also post links to relevant Web sites, or attach files to their posts, such as audio and video files. You have control over who has access to the GoPost forum, and you can even allow students to use alternate screen names to make them feel more comfortable.
Planning Considerations

Visual Learning

You can bring the "real world" into your classroom or Web site by illustrating your argument with diagrams, photos, maps, video clips, and a variety of other visual resources. For example, your students can explore thousands of photographs of cities and buildings as they study history, architecture, geography, or other related topics.
Planning Considerations

Simulations

Simulations are the next best thing to "real" experience with applied course content. They offer access to what is otherwise too small, too dangerous, or too expensive to handle. For example, your students can learn about the powers of ten or take a crack at balancing the federal budget through simulations.

Wikis

Wikis are Web sites that can be browsed and easily edited by anyone with Internet access and a Web browser. They can be a very useful tool for student collaboration and cooperation. Not only can students easily collaborate on a project using a Wiki, they can also easily make it public and invite experts in the field to react to their contribution.

MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching)

MERLOT is an online educational portal that contains links to thousands of online learning materials created by college faculty in all subject areas. All material is peer-reviewed. You can easily find the material you need to support your teaching and address the diverse learning styles of your students.

Campus Resources

  • Catalyst Workshops - The Catalyst team offers workshops to help you use the tools you need to address the diverse learning styles of your students. Participation in the Catalyst workshops is free for all UW instructors, employees, and students. Advance registration is required for some workshops.
  • Center for Instructional Development and Research (CIDR) - CIDR offers a variety of resources and services designed to promote effective teaching and learning. The center is open to all UW faculty and teaching assistants.
  • Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching (CELT) - CELT conducts original research to identify how students can effectively learn engineering. The center serves as a resource for faculty and teaching assistants in the College of Engineering to help them test out new teaching methods and technologies.
  • Carlson Center for Educational Leadership - The Carlson Leadership and Public Service Center administers a variety of experiential learning resources and programs, providing opportunities for students to extend their classroom learning through service, research, and internships. For more information, please contact: (206) 543-2618 or send an Email to: leader@u.washington.edu.

Further Reading

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