Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom
of Community College and Higher Education
of Adult, Career & Higher Education
of South Florida,
and Updated January 2007
Active learning involves students in
doing things and
thinking about the things they are doing (Bonwell & Eison 1991).
3: Some Helpful Websites on Promoting Active Learning
Each of these links was functioning properly on
January 27, 2007
comprehensive bibliography prepared by Jim Eison and colleagues at the
University of South Florida’s Center for Teaching Enhancement identifies
literally thousands of published articles describing the use of active
learning strategies in higher education. These references, published largely
from 1980-1995, have been organized within eight broad-based discipline
areas (business and computer science, communication, general works, humanities,
mathematics, nursing and health-related fields, science and social science)
and then by fifteen categories of different active learning instructional
approaches. To get to this bibliographic resource, click first on “Resources,”
then click on “Index of All Bibliographies,” and finally, click on “Active
Learning Bibliography.” Also available on this site is “Active Learning:
A Selective Annotated Bibliography of Helpful Texts” prepared by Jim Eison
in May 1999 containing brief annotations describing 32 outstanding texts.
C. Bonwell’s Active Learning Site
site supports the scholarship of teaching by providing research-based
resources designed to help faculty use active learning successfully in
college and university classrooms. Of special note on this site are (a)
an active learning bibliography (identifying published articles from 1995-1998),
(b) several concise article summaries, (c) a listing of active learning
resources on the internet, and (d) online resources on VARK (a simple-to-use
learning styles survey, developed by Neil Fleming, measuring student preferences
for visual, auditory, read/write, and kinesthetic learning activities).
site, maintained by the Kansas State University’s IDEA Center, now offers
free access to the well-known series of “IDEA Papers” that were initiated
by the Center’s former director Dr. Bill Cashin. In addition to a exploring
a wide range of topics of interest to college and university faculty,
many of these well-research and highly readable papers have addressed
the skillful use of active learning instructional strategies such as “Improving
Discussions” (Number 15), “Improving Student Writing” (Number 25), “Answering
and Asking Questions” (Number 31), and “Focusing on Active Meaningful
Learning” (Number 34). Also of special interest are the many helpful bibliographies
found under “Resources” at this site.
Learning at the University of Delaware
site, maintained by the University of Delaware Problem-Based Learning
Project and funded by the National Science Foundation, offers article
reprints, illustrative PBL problems (general problems as well as from
disciplines such as biology, chemistry, criminal justice, and physics),
sample course syllabi from over a dozen courses, and links to other PBL
State University’s Office of Faculty and TA Development’s “Handbook for
Instructors on the Use of Electronic Class Discussion”
way to engage students actively is through electronic discussions. This
excellent handbook offers faculty helpful assistance in ways to maximize
the impact of this increasingly popular form of technology-enhanced teaching.
(1997) describes how he has used peer instruction to maximize student
interaction during his large enrollment undergraduate physics lectures
and to focus students’ attention on underlying course concepts. Chapter
Two of Mazur’s (1997) text Peer Instruction is available here in electronic
form; first, click under “Education,” then under “Areas of Research-Peer
Instruction,” then under “Publications on Education Research-Book Sections”.
Richard M. Felder , a Chemical Engineer, is the author of numerous
articles on using active learning strategies. These articles are available
at this website.
Ted Panitz, a community college math and engineering faculty member, offers
a wealth of helpful resources on both cooperative learning, writing across
the curriculum, and many other issues related to promoting active student
(Part 1, Active Learning)
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disciplines . New Directions for Teaching and Learning, No. 12, San
D. A. (2000). What’s the use of lectures . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
C., & Eison, J. (1991). Active learning: Creating excitement in
the classroom (ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 1). Washington,
DC: George Washington University. Abstract online at http://www.ed.gov/databases/ERIC_Digests/ed340272.html
R., W., and Rogers, M. (1990, Spring). Innovative assessment in large
classes. College Teaching, 38(2), 69-73.
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A. W. & Ehrmann, S. C. (1996). Implementing the seven principles:
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A. W. & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in
undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin , 39(7), 3-7.
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University, Center for Teaching Excellence.
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K. P., and Angelo, T. A. (1988). Classroom Assessment Techniques:
A Handbook for Faculty . Ann Arbor, MI: National Center for Research
on Postsecondary Teaching and Learning.
J. A. (undated). Promoting Student Interaction in the Virtual College
Classroom. Available online at http://www.ihets.org/learntech/distance_ed/fdpapers/1998/52.html
J. A., & Bonwell, C. C. (1993, January). Recent works on using
active learning strategies across the disciplines . Unpublished manuscript.
ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 364 135.
R. E. (1994, October). A conversation on classroom etiquette in introductory
sociology courses. Teaching Sociology , 22, 341-344
R. M., & Brent, R. (1996). Navigating the bumpy road to student-centered
instruction. College Teaching, 44 (2), 43-47. Available online at http://www2.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Papers/Resist.html
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class instructors (2nd ed.). Austin, TX: The University of Texas
at Austin, Center for Teaching Effectiveness.
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In K. W. Prichard & R. M. Sawyer (Eds.). Handbook of college teaching:
Theory and applications . Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
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effective and ineffective methods in large classes. Paper presented to
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Learner Pedagogy with WWW. Paper presented at IASTED International Conference
on Computers and Advanced Technology in Education , May 27 -30, 1998 in
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Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
are the purposes and priorities of teaching? First, to inspire. Second,
to challenge. Third, and only third, to impart information (Bishop,
learning involves figuring out how to use what you already know in order
to go beyond what you already think (Bruner, 1983)
with modest expectations (i.e., think big but start small.
& Brent (1996) offer some excellent tips for getting started. This
resource is available online at http://www2.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Papers/Resist.html ).
must learn by doing the thing; for though you think you know it, you
will have no certainty until you try (Sophocles).
Part 2, Promoting Deep Learning
and materials are available in the library or in the LEAD office.