Research and Papers

POD-IDEA Center Notes on Instruction

These succinct papers were written in collaboration with the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education (POD). As a resource to support teaching improvement, each is useful to anyone wanting to address specific ways to employ different teaching methods – each of which is utilized in the Diagnostic Form of the IDEA Student Ratings of Instruction.

Introduction

IDEA Item #1: Displayed a personal interest in students and their learning

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Virginia S. Lee, Virginia S. Lee and Associates

Background Several strands of research demonstrate that displaying a personal interest in students is not only nice, but necessary for real learning. Research in neuroscience and the physiology of...

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IDEA Item #2: Found ways to help students answer their own questions

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Nancy McClure, Fairmont State University; Updated by Mindy McWilliams, Georgetown University

Background Teachers who find ways to help students answer their own questions first help students to formulate good questions, and then guide students to answer these questions through inquiry and...

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IDEA Item #3: Scheduled course work (class activities, tests, projects) in ways which encouraged students to stay up-to-date in their work

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University

Background Faculty often express interest in having students learn basic knowledge, understand major concepts, develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills, acquire professional habits and...

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IDEA Item #4: Demonstrated the importance and significance of the subject matter

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Nancy C. McClure, Fairmont State University; Updated by Michael Theall, Youngstown State University

Background On the first day of class, students arrive with a great sense of expectation and a range of emotions. What will this course be like? What am I going to learn? Is this going to be boring...

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IDEA Item #5: Formed "teams" or "discussion groups" to facilitate learning

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Todd Zakrajsek, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Background Learning is enhanced when the material to be learned is thought about deeply and also when related material is retrieved from memory and associated with the new material. When students...

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IDEA Item #6: Made it clear how each topic fits into the course

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University

Background College teachers have invested years of work and thought in their disciplines. By virtue of their disciplinary skills, training, experience, and intuitions, they are experts with deep...

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IDEA Item #7: Explaining the reasons for criticisms of students’ academic performance

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Roben Torosyan, Fairfield University; Original Author: Barbara E. Walvoord, University of Notre Dame

Background Critiquing and grading take time. Often we explain criticisms only to discover that students make the same mistakes again. Students increasingly contest grades too—although that’s...

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IDEA Item #8: Stimulated students to intellectual effort beyond that required by most courses

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Nancy McClure, Fairmont State University; Updated by Josie G. Baudier and Traci R. Stromie, Kennesaw State University

Background A review of the literature (1) indicates that college students seldom have to perform at Bloom’s taxonomy cognitive levels higher than remembering and understanding (2). Many...

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IDEA Item #9: Encouraged students to use multiple resources to improve understanding

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Original Author: Leora Baron, University of Las Vegas

Background A few years ago, when the information world was highly structured and key resources could be found on the shelves of any respectable college or university library, getting students to use...

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IDEA Item #10: Explained course material clearly and concisely

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Mary Deane Sorcinelli, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Background Explaining course content so that students understand the material taught is critical to effective learning. Research bears this out. Studies on college classroom behaviors have coded...

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IDEA Item #11: Related course material to real-life situations

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University

Background There are many reasons for incorporating real-life situations into instruction. Foremost are that applications of theoretical material in real-life situations make content easier to...

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IDEA Item #12: Gave tests, projects, etc. that covered the most important points of the course

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Barbara Walvoord, University of Notre Dame; Updated by Deborah Keyek-Franssen, University of Colorado Boulder

Background While it seems intuitive and essential to give tests and projects that cover the most important aspects of the course, it is often the case that teacher-made tests and other assigned...

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IDEA Item #13: Introduced stimulating ideas about the subject

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University

Background Capturing students’ interest and getting students engaged are critical to successful teaching and learning. Research on the dimensions of college teaching (1) shows that...

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IDEA Item #14: Involved students in “hands-on” projects such as research, case studies, or real-life activities

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derk Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Virginia S. Lee, Virginia S. Lee and Associates

Background According to a number of contemporary theories of learning bundled under the umbrella term “constructivism,” learners don’t acquire knowledge through a process of...

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IDEA Item #15: Inspired students to set and achieve goals which really challenged them

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Todd Zakrajsek, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Background Researchers note the relationship between setting challenging goals and student achievement (1). Both laboratory and field studies consistently demonstrated decades ago that setting...

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IDEA Item #16: Asked students to share ideas and experiences with others whose backgrounds and viewpoints differ from their own

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Jeff King, University of Central Oklahoma

Background Faculty who encourage the interchange of differing viewpoints among students, and who create a safe environment for doing so, counter what Garcia and Hoelscher (1) call subtle, systemic...

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IDEA Item #17: Provided timely and frequent feedback on tests, reports, projects, etc., to help students improve

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Cynthia G. Desrochers and Deone Zell, California State University, Northridge

Background Feedback that is both affirming and corrective is necessary for people to learn (1). Defined as information on the results of one’s efforts, feedback that is clear, specific and...

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IDEA Item #18: Asked students to help each other understand ideas or concepts

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Jeff King, University of Central Oklahoma

Background Students helping other students learn is a powerful classroom technique. Collaborative learning uses this approach to achieve content-focused and process-oriented goals, both of which...

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IDEA Item #19: Gave projects, tests, or assignments that required original or creative thinking

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Cynthia G. Desrochers and Deone Zell, California State University, Northridge

Background Original, creative, higher-level thinking is seen in many forms in all disciplines from writing, music, and art to a unique approach in the social sciences, a well-crafted curriculum...

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IDEA Item #20: Encouraged student-faculty interaction outside of class

Series Editors: Michael Theall, Youngstown State University; Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University; Amy Gross, The IDEA Center | Author: Allison Pingree, Vanderbilt University; Updated by Todd Zakrajsek, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Background One of the most important factors in students’ success in college is interaction with their teachers (1). Student-faculty interaction outside of class can take many forms: office...

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