Research and Reflection on Learning & Teaching in Other Ways: Recent UMinn SoTL Publications

12 Mar

We’re chuffed.  Staff and faculty who work with or who work at CTL have created five SoTL – Scholarship of Teaching and Learning – publications, each coming into public view this academic year.  And since it’s break here at the University of Minnesota campus, we’ve decided to make use of this Monday blog post to highlight and link you to those readings for a bit of intra-session food for though.

The articles are drawn from three nicely different publications:  Science, New Directions for Teaching and Learning, and the Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning.  The three drawn from Science and New Directions focus on teaching in Active Learning Spaces; the fourth is drawn from a national humanities journal, and aims to enact Stephen Brookfield’s framework for reflective teaching practice in making meaning of a life in multicultural teaching and learning.

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Active Learning Spaces 

From a special issue of New Directions for Teaching and Learning. Issue 137. Spring 2014.  Edited by D. Christopher Brooks, J. D. Walker and Paul Baepler.

1.  Active Learning Classrooms and Educational Alliances: Changing Relationships to Improve Learning (27–40), by Paul Baepler and J. D. Walker, from the Office of Information Technology.

Abstract: This chapter explores the “educational alliance” among students and between students and instructors. We contend that this is a framework that can help us understand how active learning classrooms facilitate positive educational outcomes.


2.  Strategies to Address Common Challenges When Teaching in an Active Learning Classroom (63–70), by Christina I. Petersen and Kristen S. Gorman, from the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Abstract: This chapter provides practical strategies for addressing common challenges that arise for teachers in active learning classrooms. Our strategies come from instructors with experience teaching in these environments.


3.  Conducting an Introductory Biology Course in an Active Learning Classroom: A Case Study of an Experienced Faculty Member (71–76), by David Langley and S. Selcen Guzey, from the Center for Teaching and Learning, and from the STEM Education Center.

Abstract: A case study is described that examines the beliefs and practices of a university instructor who teaches regularly in an active learning classroom. His perspective provides insights into the pedagogical practices that drive his success in these learning spaces.


4.  From Science, 341.6153 (September 2013): Students Propose Genetic Solutions to Societal Problems.” (1467-1468), by Sue Wick, Mark Decker, David Matthes, and Robin Wright, from the College of Biological Science.

Abstract:  In the Foundations of Biology sequence for entering biological sciences majors at the University of Minnesota, inquiry-based learning is woven throughout the classroom and laboratory. During the first semester lecture and discussion, students work in teams on a Genetic Engineering Proposal in which they propose a gene-based solution to a societal problem of their own choosing. Instructors coach the teams throughout the semester on experimental design and resources, as well as on data analysis, presentation strategies, team work, and research ethics. On the basis of outcomes from the nearly 3000 students who have taken the course over the past 6 years, the project has succeeded in engaging students in the intellectual work of biologists and the experience of science as creative inquiry.

Links: Article –, and


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Expanded Perspectives on Learning 

Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning. Volume 19.
Winter 2013-2014.  Edited by Joonna Smitherman Trapp and Bradley Peters.

5.  By CTLer Ilene D. Alexander – “Learning and Teaching in Other Ways,” The Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning: 19.1 (2013): 108-113.  Article 13.

Available at:

Editor’s Summary:  In JAEPL’s Out of the Box section, Ilene Alexander ponders her past as an unconventional learner, observing if students get the right to their low language, they can recover often-suppressed stories which have framed their lives.  In so doing, students become teachers in turn, connecting with – rather than separating from – others whose lives differ.  Informed by trans-Atlantic scholars, Alexander still identifies her Minnesota grandmother as her wisest mentor.  Find out why.

Ida School Color


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