Month: December 2014

Reflect on Your Course Structure and Technology Use

Submitted by Mike Meyer, Director of the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning

As we wrap up one term and look to the next, it’s important to reflect both on course structures and classroom technologies.   One of the most interesting reflections I’ve seen regarding getting the technology right is Todd Rose’s TED Talk called  “The Myth ofAverage”. (

In this 18 minute video, Todd – a high school drop-out and now Harvard faculty member – compares the fit of a fighter-pilot in a cockpit to that of an “average” student in a classroom.  He argues that without the ability to “customize”, exactly zero students in our courses will optimize their learning.

The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning will maintain regular hours through December 22 for further discussion about next term, then re-open on 1/5 to help instructors prepare for the new semester.  For more discussion about your courses, stop bythe William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning ( in theVan Pelt and Opie Library, room 219!

Increasing Response Rates on Evaluations

Submitted by Mike Meyer, Director of the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning

With end-of-term course evaluations under way, many instructors have questions about raising response rates. The UC Berkley Center for Teaching and Learning summarizes the research on this; studies have shown that how the instructor approaches these evaluations can make a big difference in response rate. The key is to go beyond just reminders by explaining to students how their responses will be used by both the instructor and the administration. Asking for feedback about specific aspects of the course (a recent change or something being considered) also seems to increase responses.

Busy students need assurance that the time they take to give feedback isn’t wasted. If you’d like to talk more about how to increase response rates in your class, email or stop by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning in Library 219.