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Commentary Category

From the CFT Director

Aug. 12, 2019—August is here! I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure where the summer went. It was a busy one at the Center for Teaching, as we wrapped up the academic year, started collaborating with Vice Provost Tracey George on faculty development initiatives, and prepared for our fall events and programs. Our big orientations...

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Signal-to-noise in the classroom

Aug. 5, 2019—by Cynthia J. Brame, CFT Associate Director I’ve been thinking a lot about signal-to-noise ratio this summer. My post-doctoral research relied heavily on mass spectrometry of complex mixtures, and we thought a lot about signal-to-noise and whether we were missing the thing we were after in a sea of other things our instrument could detect....

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Evidence-based teaching: my definition

Jun. 19, 2019—by Cynthia J. Brame, CFT Associate Director I’ve been thinking lately about what we mean when we say “evidence-based teaching.” It’s a term I’ve used a lot (e.g., the Evidence-Based Teaching Guides feature of LSE that I co-edit with Kristy Wilson of Marian University), but I didn’t really think about the definition until earlier this...

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Teaching Innovations at Vanderbilt: Neil Kelley, Jennifer Bradham and Class Simulations

May. 27, 2019—By Faith Rovenolt, CFT undergraduate intern Neil Kelley teaches EES 1030L: Oceanography Lab, assisted by his TAs, Michaela Peterson and Jennifer Bradham. I was able to speak with Kelley and Bradham about a specific lab that, quite frankly, made me want to take the course just so I could be a part of it. And...

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Who’s doing all the work? Who’s having all the fun?

May. 15, 2019—Part 1: Five steps to incorporating productive failure into your course by Cynthia J. Brame, CFT Associate Director Several years ago, I had the distinct pleasure of hearing a talk by Barb Stengel, Professor of the Practice in Vanderbilt’s Teaching and Learning Department.  She had a mantra that she repeated throughout the talk to frame her comments: “Who’s...

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Teaching Innovations at Vanderbilt: Mary Lauren Pfieffer, Anna Richmond, and Pediatric Simulations

May. 13, 2019—By Faith Rovenolt, CFT undergraduate intern Teaching Advanced Practice Nursing in Primary Care of the Child is a challenge: students need to understand a range of concepts for caring for children and adolescents across a large developmental spectrum, building knowledge that has cognitive, psychosocial, and motor components. Mary Lauren Pfieffer, Instructor in Nursing, and Anna...

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Book Recommendation From CFT’s Stacey Johnson

Mar. 13, 2019—If you are one of the many faculty or staff at Vanderbilt focusing on immersion initiatives, community engagement, or teaching for global citizenship, one of our newest books at the CFT library might be a useful tool in your work. The book is Community-Based Global Learning: The Theory and Practice of Ethical Engagement at Home and...

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Teaching in the context of hate speech

Aug. 21, 2018—By Joe Bandy, CFT Assistant Director Many institutions of higher education aspire to encourage the liberal arts ideals of free speech, critical thought, and diverse perspectives so as to empower students to lead meaningful and purposeful lives, and to engage in our society as responsible citizens. This – in addition to growing campus diversification, student...

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Celebration of Learning Spotlight: Genetic Screen for Genes Involved in Paternal Mitochondrial DNA Elimination in C. Elegans

Apr. 30, 2018—Vanderbilt students William Hiser, Alec Jotte, and Sabeen Rehman got hands-on experience with what it means to be scientists. All three students participated in a biological sciences lab course where, under the guidance of Dr. Steve Baskauf and graduate student Cait Kirby, they developed a genetic screen approach to track mitochondrial DNA degradation as the...

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Celebration of Learning Spotlight: Reading Between the Lines

Apr. 25, 2018—When the chance to conduct independent research arose, engineering student Allison Witte accepted the opportunity and developed her own project. Entitled Reading Between the Lines: What the News is Really Saying About Water Issues, the project focused on water conservation and how the news conveys information about water quality and issues to the public. The...

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