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Commentary Category

Teaching Innovations at Vanderbilt: John Bradley and Teaching Writing

Oct. 14, 2019—By Faith Rovenolt, CFT undergraduate intern Talking with Dr. John Bradley, director of the Writing Studio, helped me name critical lessons about writing that that I’ve realized firsthand as a Vanderbilt student here. I think teachers and students like me can benefit from both the abstract approaches and the concrete tools Bradley uses to foster...

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Crowdsourcing ideas for student engagement and for dealing with student challenges

Oct. 1, 2019—by Cynthia J. Brame, CFT Associate Director One of the most persistent questions that faculty face is how to engage our students productively, both in and out of the classroom. In some settings this is easier than others: when students are taking elective courses in their area of interest, the road is often smoother than...

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Teaching Innovations at Vanderbilt: Garrett Tate, Lily Claiborne, and student analysis of real-world data

Sep. 30, 2019—By Faith Rovenolt, CFT undergraduate intern It’s pretty hard to not find volcanoes exciting. That’s part of the reason why I think a new active learning activity in EES-1510: The Dynamic Earth: Introduction to Geological Sciences, is so cool. The other reason I think it’s amazing is that it represents a great example of an...

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Teaching Innovations at Vanderbilt: Lisa Fazio and Peerceptiv

Sep. 16, 2019—By Faith Rovenolt, CFT undergraduate intern As a student, I have complicated feelings about peer review. It can be incredibly helpful, but only if it’s implemented well and if all students involved put real time and effort into giving useful feedback. That’s why I think Dr. Lisa Fazio’s use of Peerceptiv could be useful to...

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Student motivation journal club: Starting the year with a framework to understand motivation

Sep. 12, 2019—by Cynthia J. Brame, CFT Associate Director Last week, my colleague Heather Fedesco and I convened the first meeting of a new, CFT-sponsored journal club on student motivation. We were excited to see the 15 or so faculty members who were there (and to get emails from others who had to miss it but plan...

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Teaching Innovations at Vanderbilt: Dana Kan and Low-Stakes Retrieval Midterms

Sep. 3, 2019—By Faith Rovenolt, CFT undergraduate intern I love interviewing professors for this blog series; every time I do it, I learn something new. Speaking with Dr. Dana Kan, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, I learned that classroom acoustics constitute an important aspect of the...

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Big classes, name tents, and anxiety in the classroom

Aug. 28, 2019—by Cynthia J. Brame, CFT Associate Director Classes at my institution started last week, which means that my co-teacher and I greeted just over 150 students in our biochemistry class. When I start the semester, I’m always struck by how many students there are, and how a big class like this would not have brought...

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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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