good reads

Have you ever had to refute that negative stereotype of university professors as poor teachers who only care about their research? A new book by Catharine Hoffman Beyer and her colleagues at the University of Washington provides research to back up what many of us already know from experience: most professors care deeply about teaching and continuously work hard on improving it. You can learn more about Inside the Undergraduate Teaching Experience (SUNY Press) from this Inside Higher Ed article

And for some remarkable examples of University of Michigan professors who are innovative and passionate about undergraduate teaching, see our Friday Profiles series. Or look around: they're all over campus. 


In this space, we occasionally highlight items from around the Web that offer interesting perspectives on college teaching and higher education. Here are some short, thought-provoking pieces about learning and technology that have recently caught the eye of CRLT staff:

  • An article from Campus Technology about two professors at Albion College who have developed mobile apps for learning in a liberal arts context. These tools, one for a chemistry course and one for a literature course, provide intriguing examples of interactive course materials that allow students to practice and get feedback on their learning. 
  • A blog by Teaching Professor author Maryellen Weimer about recent studies assessing the effects of "multitasking" on student learning. She compiles data showing that students who engage in text messaging, social networking, and internet searching during classes learn less and perform more poorly, concrete evidence for what many teachers know from experience.

CRLT has also published an Occasional Paper on a related topic, discussing best practices for using laptops as an effective tool to promote student learning. You can link to the pdf here.


Did you know that the University of Michigan Library published an open-access book that was crowdsourced in a single week? In May 2010, editors Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt gathered submissions for Hacking the Academy, a multi-faceted collection exploring how digital media might productively transform the ways academics go about their scholarship and teaching.  Here’s the section focused on teaching, which is well worth browsing if you’re interested in how the evolving media environment intersects with instructional strategies: “Hacking Teaching.”   

For some more general information about how the volume came together, check out the Preface to Hacking the Academy. The printed book is also forthcoming from the University of Michigan Press


In this space, we will occasionally highlight articles from around the Web that offer interesting perspectives on college teaching and higher education. Here are some short, thought-provoking pieces that caught the eye of CRLT staff during the past week:

  • Bookmark iconAn article from the Faculty Focus newsletter on the relation between grading and student learning.  Why not give all of your students A's?
  • A Tomorrow's Professor blog post that offers helpful suggestions for inspiring students to set challenging goals for themselves.  What if not all of your students come to class eager to be challenged?

Do you have other recommendations you'd like to share with U-M teachers? Include them in the Comments section below.