Building Connections  |  Concept Maps  |  Critiques  |  Fact SheetsFirst Day of Class  | Inclusive Teaching and LearningJigsaw | Online Science Laboratories  | Oral Communication as a Learning Tool Reacting to the Past |  Think, Pair, Share |  Simulation as a Teaching Strategy |  
 Smartphone Based Virtual Reality|   Wait Time


Engaging Students - Active Learning Techniques

Building Connections

  • Building connections between class topics and real-life examples ia a helpful tool for students.  Providing students opportunity to make those connections can improve student engagement in your course.  This Teaching Tool will provide you with some background information and prompts you can use to help you help your students make connections.

Teaching Tools—Building Connections (PDF)

Concept Maps

  • Concept maps are a visualization of knowledge that is organized by relationship between topics. They provide an opportunity for students to make meaningful connections between information; whether that is before, during or after class. This Teaching Tool will provide you with not only the background and basics for implementation but a few variations on implementation that might help this highly effective learning activity to fit best in your course.

Teaching Tools—Concept Maps (PDF)


  • Critiques - discussing and evaluating students' creative visual works-in-progress - can range from information feedback involving peers to a formal graded process led by the instructor.  This Teaching Tool will provide you with ways to set goals for critiques, implementation steps, different formats and methodologies to consider. and other resources to help you design and implement critiques in ways that support student learning.

Teaching Tools—Critiques (PDF)

Fact Sheets

  • A fact sheet is a short, typed or hand-written document that contains the most relevant information about a particular subject in the least amount of space. The goal is to provide facts and key points about a topic in a clear, concise, and easy-to-understand way. In developing a fact sheet, students must decide what is most important, organize it, and communicate it in their own words. All three of these practices relate to how people learn and are linked to increased retention of information. The fact sheet can then be used for class work and studying. 

Teaching Tools—Fact Sheets (PDF)

First Day of Class

  • This evidence-based resource will help you make the most of your first class and will provide helpful hints to ensure your expectations are transparent to your students and also set the tone for a welcoming learning environment. 

Teaching Tools—First Day of Class (PDF)

Inclusive Teaching and Learning

  • Inclusive teaching and learning denotes pedagogical methods, techniques and approaches that take into account the diverse needs and backgrounds of all students ensuring that they feel valued and welcomed in the classroom.

Teaching Tools—Inclusive Teaching and Learning (PDF)


  • This 20-30 minute cooperative learning activity is where students first work in groups, becoming an expert on a prompt. The students then form inter-mixed groups with an expert from the previous prompt. Intermixed groups then rely on the diverse experts to complete a new prompt.

Teaching Tools—Jigsaw (PDF) 

Online Science Laboratories

  • An online science laboratory is just what it sounds, a laboratory that takes place remotely at home, online via computerized robotics, or virtually through simulations or software. They have the same learning outcomes as the traditional laboratory, but the focus and the structure of the online laboratory may make more use of and implement greater reliance of online content, at-home or local materials and learning centers, or online peer-to-peer collaboration.

Teaching Tools—Online Science Laboratories (PDF)


  • Oral communication in the form of student talk can be described as focused group conversations or collaborative conversations that are usually facilitated and/or monitored by an instructor. Eliciting student talk encourages the use oral language to express their understanding of a concept or idea.

Teaching Tools—Oral Communication as a Learning Tool (PDF)

Reacting to the past

  • Reacting to the Past is an interdisciplinary pedagogical tool that buoys student engagement through the power of subversive, immersive play.  Structured intellectual debate grounded in historical primary sources revolves around core questions that still resonate today.  

Teaching Tools—Reacting to the Past (PDF)


Think, Pair, Share

  • A short activity where the instructor poses a question, students think about their responses then pair with someone near them to discuss their thinking before sharing out to the class.

Teaching Tools—Think, Pair, Share (PDF)

Simulation as a Teaching Strategy

  • Experiential learning such as simulation has been promoted as a means to challenge student's misconceptions (McClintock, 2000). Experiential learning encourages higher-order learning, which promotes critical thinking abilities and self-directed learning (Kreber, 2001). Hakeem (2001) found that students involved in experiential learning have a greater understanding of their subject matter than students in a traditional lecture-only class.

Teaching Tools—Simulation as a Teaching Strategy (PDF)

Smartphone Based Virtual Reality 

  • Smartphone Based Virtual Reality (VR) enables an immersive simulation activity that would use both: (1) free VR apps downloaded on a smartphone from Google Play App store and other apps store, and (2) a VR Headset (e.g. Google Cardboard), to simulate an environment and teach students a set of concepts that otherwise would be difficult to experience and illustrate in a classroom (i.e. space and time restriction) or inaccessible location (i.e. hazardous space).

Teaching Tools—Smartphone Based Virtual Reality  (PDF)

Wait Time

  • Wait time refers to two specific practices where instructors deliberately pause.  First, wait time 1 constitutes a 3-5 second pause between asking a question and soliciting an answer.  Second, wait time 2 is a 3-5 second pause after a student response.  This time provides students with time to think about the question and develop a response, either to the instructor’s question or a peer’s response.

Teaching Tools—Wait Time (PDF)


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