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Teaching/Learning Center: BEST PRACTICES

Instructional Designer's Top Picks

  1.  How Generations X, Y, and Z May Change the Academic Workplace (2017, The Chronicle)
  2.  The Chronicle's Best Ideas for Teaching (2017)
  3.  Creative Syllabi (8-27-12) - Prof Hacker Examples of interesting ways faculty present syllabi to students.
  4. Teaching Tips: Mastering The Boring Basics (4.17.17)
  5. 5 Ways To Shake Up the Lecture (12.4.16)
    • Flipped Class
    • Scale-Up
    • Small-group Exercises
    • Teaching Assistants
    • The Personal Touch
  6. How One Email From You Could Help Students Succeed (8.9.18)
  7. One Way To Show Students You Care - and Why You Might Want to Try It (8.29.18)

Chronicle of Higher Education

The Flipped Classroom


"The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. The notion of a flipped classroom draws on such concepts as active learning, student engagement, hybrid course design, and course podcasting. The value of a flipped class is in the repurposing of class time into a workshop where students can inquire about lecture content, test their skills in applying knowledge, and interact with one another in hands-on activities" (Educause).

  1. "Flipped Classroom" (Panopto, Infographic)
  2. "Resistance to the inverted classroom can show up anywhere" (The Chronicle, 2012)
  3. "Toward a common definition of “flipped learning” " (The Chronicle, 2014)
  4. "7 Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms" (Educause)
  5. "The biggest lesson from the flipped classroom may not be about math" (The Chronicle)
  6. "Creating learning objectives, flipped classroom style" (The Chronicle)
  7. International Trends and Techniques Used to Teach Studio Art Courses Through Distance Education (East Carolina University)
  8. More on the Flipped Classroom (Educause)
  9. "Microflipping: a Modest Twist on the 'Flipped' Classroom"


Describing Visual Resources Toolkit

The description of visual resources is a crucial component of accessible digital publications, as it affords access to the information contained in images for the many people with disabilities that affect reading, and for all the technologies that interact with publications when indexing, searching, or converting text to speech. Description makes visual resources more discoverable and sustainable, and makes publications more useful to more people.

In academic publications in the arts and humanities, description must be scholarly as well as accessible, and in line with existing standards: metadata, copyright, and disciplinary conventions. It is therefore best managed by the scholars, academic publishers, and arts organizations who create the publications.

The resources in this toolkit are designed to support authors, editors, publishers, and arts organizations in advancing the description of visual resources for accessibility in arts and humanities publications.

Learning Objects

The best Learning Objects are interactive, requiring students to view, listen to, respond to or interact with the content in some way.

Learning Objects:

  • represent a new way of thinking about learning content.
  • much smaller units of learning – self-contained, reusable, and web-based.

Learning Objects do not take the place of teachers or textbooks. Rather, they are supplemental content designed to appeal to a variety of learning styles and provide students additional opportunities to learn.

Since LOs are small, self-contained, independent chunks of knowledge, they can be re-used by others in multiple contexts for multiple purposes and presented as components of instruction or as reference information.

They should be based on a clear instructional strategy – intended to cause learning through internal processing and/or action.

LOs are often aggregated, collected, and grouped into larger collections of content for broad dissemination. Some subjects, such as science, have hundreds of LOs available. There are very few in the area of the arts.

Youtube FNDT LOs IconBasic Skills LOs Logo Youtube

Learning Objects by Otis College Faculty

Faculty have created various learning objects that may help you with your projects. All of these videos are also available on the Otis College Channel on YouTube.

Interested In Making A Video Learning Object

The TLC includes two production studios to assist you in creating your own video Learning Objects. Come and see us to get started!

Check out the "TLC: Instructional Video Making Basics" playlist on LyndaCampus to get started making your own instructional videos. 

Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Open Sign in Window

Open Educational Resources (OERs) provide access to instructional content at zero cost. OERs are resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their FREE USE AND REPURPOSING BY OTHERS.

Consider using OERs instead of asking students to buy costly books and/or course readers. You can also use OERs to develop your own course activities and assignments.

  1. COOL4Ed - CSU open online library
  2. Lumen Learning - OER Courses
  3. Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature
  4. Assignment Bank
  5. David Wiley - Renewable Assignments
  6. Open Textbook Network - Colorado State University
  7. Openstax - Rice University
  8. SPARC

Consider Virtual Textbooks

  1. Vitalsource

Collaboration + Group Projects + Critique

cooperative stone

An important element of student-centered, more engaged, learning is collaboration. When students interact and work with each other, they take a more active role in the classroom, which increases the potential to deepen and strengthen learning.

  1. The New Power of Collaboration (TED Talk)
  2. Designing and Orchestrating Online Discussions (Baker, 2011)

Teaching Writing ESL, EFL, ESOL Students

"If you require students to produce writing to evidence their learning in your class, then guiding students in creating that outcome should be a part of your teaching. It’s not all about grammar and correctness; good writing is good thinking. With some insight into proven best practices in student writing, you can help your students improve their writing and thinking skills." - Debra Ballard

  1. Top Tips For Assisting Students 
    • Require all written work reviewed by a tutor and signed off
    • Complete Academic Support Referral Forms, especially if students are encouraged to concentrate on a particular aspect of a given assignment
    • Review other work posted in student's Learning ePortfolio to get a sense of what a student can and cannot do
    • Provide clear step-by-step instructions in written form and verbally
  2. "24 Tips for Teaching Writing" (The Chronicle)
  3. "Teachers Say Tech Helps Student Writing, But Encourages Shortcuts" (Education Week)

Educational Applications

Considering exploring the world of educational applications for mobile devices. Turn the phone or tablet into a learning tool as opposed to a possible classroom distraction.

  1. "iPad Classroom: Apps for Educators" (
  2. iTunes App Store
  3. "Best Apps for Teaching & Learning 2018" (American Association of School Librarians)
  4. "The 70 Best Apps For Teachers And Students" (Edudemic)
  5. "Turning Education Upside Down" (NY Times, 2013)
  6.  "Creativity on the Run: 18 Apps that Support the Creative Process" (Edutopia, 2013)

What does it take to be a college professor in the second decade of the 21st century?


Neil Baldwin in "Conserving Energy" (4.13.17) suggests:

  1. Get a good night's sleep, and eat a hearty breakfast.
  2. I know it is tempting, but don't drink too much coffee, because you will get over hyped before class and risk crashing from that fake caffeine high.
  3. Pace yourself doing whatever you have to do (meetings, errands, paperwork) before class starts.
  4. Remain mindful of your finite energy reserves, and mediate your outflow during class time so you don't expend all your strength too early in the period.
  5. And at the end of your long day on campus, even when you are tired and strung out, the teaching body must be attended to. Make yourself head over to the gym for cardio and weight training, to keep your vital signs in decent working order. Commit to developing the imperative physical stamina required to capture - and hold - your students' attention.

Digital Storytelling

Close-up colored keyboard

"Digital storytelling at its most basic core is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories . . . [revolves] around the idea of combining the art of telling stories with a variety of multimedia, including graphics, audio, video, and Web publishing." - University of Houston, TX.

  1. Digital Storytelling (Creative Educator)
  2. "What is Digital Storytelling?" (University of Houston)
  3. "Teacher's Guide to Digital Storytelling" (Edudemic, 2014)
  4. "7 Things You Should Know About Digital Storytelling" (Educause)
  5. "The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling" (2006)

General Tips About Effective Teaching

desk with an apple

  1. Characteristics of Effective Teachers (Stanford Commons)
  2. Essential Aspects of Effective Teaching (Stanford Commons)
  3. Learning Theory (Crash Course)
  4.  Chickering + Gamson - The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education
    • Encourage contact between students and faculty.
    • Develop reciprocity and cooperation among students.
    • Encourage active learning.
    • Give prompt feedback.
    • Emphasize time on task.
    • Communicate high expectations.
    • Respect diverse talents and ways of learning.
  5. MERLOT Pedagogy Resources
  6. The Teaching Professor Blog

Teaching Online

Competency-Based Learning (CBL)

assortment of desk supplies

The competency-based learning (CBL) is similar to problem-based learning, but with CBL, students formulate the challenges they will address. Through a process of discussion and research, students identify a selection of questions that might be workable for their project, work on solutions, and publish those solutions online. In this way, CBL provides the satisfaction that comes from figuring out both the issue to be tackled and the solution to it, even though CBL requires a heavier time commitment than more traditional academic activities. Students gain meaningful skills through these projects, including how to share work, collaborate, organize, and express themselves more effectively.

More on CBL (Educause).

Copyright + Fair Use

Uncertain what you ​can use in the classroom?

Information on Copyright/Fair Use.


book pages

Have a discussion with your students about plagiarism in the classroom. 

  • When is it appropriation vs copying?

Otis College defines Plagiarism as:

All ideas, arguments, and phrases, submitted without attribution to other sources must be the creative product of the student. Thus, all text passages taken from the works of other authors (published or unpublished) must be properly cited. The same applies to paraphrased text, opinions, data, examples, illustrations, and all other creative work. Violations of this standard constitute plagiarism.

If you suspect Plagiarism, complete the Academic Misconduct Complaint form

Media + Information Literacy

Information Literacy

Information Literacy is one of the 5 WSCUC core competencies:

"Otis graduates will be able to assemble, evaluate, and ethically use information from diverse sources to accomplish a specific purpose."

  1. How To Teach Information Literacy in an Era of Lies (7.24.18)

Visual Rhetoric/Media Literacy

Media Literacy = the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media.

Visual Rhetoric =  theoretical framework describing how visual images communicate meaning

  1. Visual Rhetoric Overview (OWL @ Purdue)
  2. Center for Media Literacy
  3. Owl Purdue: Visual Rhetoric

Visual Rhetoric Infographic


Time Management

Why Poor Time Management Occurs

  1. They Don't Read! (Inside Higher Education)
  2. A Formula for Procrastination (Cnet)
  3. 6 Reasons People Procrastinate (Oregon State University--Academic Success Center)
  4. "Homework, What Homework? (The Chronicle) PDF below

Teaching Time Management

  1. Toolkit: Time Management Tools ( 
  2. Steps for Strong Time Management for College Students (Thought Co)
  3. Time Management: Getting the Most Out of Now (Univ. of Wisconsin) PDF below​
  4. The Pyramid of Efficient Learning  (Univ. of Wisconsin) PDF below​
  5. Time Management Tips  (

Non-Traditional Approaches to Time Management In the Classroom:

  1.  It's Time to Ditch Our Deadlines (Chronicle of Higher Education)

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