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Three things I learned while writing about test-enhanced learning

Aug. 24, 2015—By Rachel Biel, CFT undergraduate intern I recently had the privilege of coauthoring an essay about the benefits of testing beyond assessment. As a student who is tested most commonly for formal assessment, the idea of testing as part of the learning process was new to me. Beyond the practical implications of incorporating more testing...

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Learning about the basics of learning

Aug. 17, 2015—By Cynthia Brame, Ph.D., CFT Assistant Director Last September, I read an article in the New York Times Magazine suggesting that pre-testing could improve subsequent student learning. The article was based on work by Elizabeth Ligon Bjork and colleagues, and indicated that pre-testing could help students avoid the “fluency fallacy” and might alert them to...

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Peer review of teaching with a helping hand from the CFT

Aug. 11, 2015—by Cynthia Brame, Assistant Director  Peer review is a cornerstone of the way that academics build new knowledge, helping to ensure high quality research that moves fields forward. Peer review of teaching can be a valuable tool for much the same reasons it is valuable for research. It can help departments and individuals reflect on...

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How do you teach novice scientists to be thoughtful, critical researchers?

Apr. 10, 2014—By Cynthia Brame   I recently had two experiences that spoke to this issue. First, I ran into my colleague Carl Johnson in the BioSci department at Vanderbilt. He said that he was finishing up getting ready to present at journal club, and that he needed to go take another look at the paper “to...

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The Power of Design: What design projects can teach our students—and us

Feb. 13, 2014—By Cynthia J. Brame, Assistant Director  This year, the CFT has adopted a “Students as Producers” theme, exploring ways that instructors can scaffold their classes to help students do meaningful, creative work. Design projects, the linchpin of any engineering curriculum, illustrate some of the key benefits and lessons of helping your students be producers. I’ve...

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New Teaching Guide: Just-in-Time Teaching

Jun. 27, 2013—Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) is a teaching and learning strategy designed to promote the use of class time for more active learning. Developed by Gregor Novak and colleagues, JiTT relies on a feedback loop between web-based learning materials and the classroom (Novak et al., 1999). Students prepare for class by reading from the textbook or using...

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Teaching Large Classes

Jan. 31, 2013—By Cynthia J. Brame, CFT Assistant Director Teaching large classes can pose particular challenges. How do you personalize interaction in a class with more than 100—or even more than 200—students? How do you promote student engagement when it’s so easy for a student to hide in the crowd? How do you provide helpful feedback without...

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Thinking About Metacognition

Jan. 10, 2013—By Cynthia Brame, CFT Assistant Director   I’ve been thinking a good bit about metacognition lately, which is kind of funny, if you think about it. Metacognition can be defined very simply as thinking about thinking, or more fully as by developmental psychologist John Flavell: “Metacognition refers to one’s knowledge concerning one’s own cognitive processes...

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Who am I When I’m Teaching?

Dec. 5, 2012—By Cynthia Brame, CFT Assistant Director Who are you when you’re teaching? Are you a knowledgeable guide traversing well-traveled ground? An expert transmitting the accumulated wisdom of your field to hungry apprentices? A supportive but honest critic? A fellow traveler on a journey without a well-defined destination? And whatever your description of your teaching persona,...

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