Teaching with Technology

Classroom instructor with students using laptops.As U-M instructors put the finishing touches on their fall syllabi, many are pondering technology policies for their courses. Instructors across all disciplines at Michigan have developed creative ways to utilize technologies to facilitate student learning. As many U-M faculty examples demonstrate, laptops and mobile electronic devices can be leveraged in the classroom to enhance student interaction, collaboration, content knowledge, and practice with key skills. 

Yet many teachers find the presence of such devices a hindrance to student learning in their classes and seek ways to limit their classroom use. Recent writings about this concern have cited the distraction of the student user, the distraction of their fellow students (with one faculty commentator comparing classroom laptop use to second-hand smoke), or the sometimes-alarming uses of social media among groups of students during class. Many faculty are also persuaded to limit laptops in the classroom by research on the benefits of notetaking by hand for those students who are able. Considering these concerns alongside the development of ever-better instructional technologies, what's the best technology policy to adopt?

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, and the choices you make will depend on any number of factors including your discipline, class size, pedagogical strategies, and learning goals for students. Any instructor effectively has three choices, considerations about each of which we outline below: Read more »

Mark your calendars for the 18th annual Enriching Scholarship Conference: May 4-8, 2015!

Teach Tech logoHosted by the Teaching and Technology Collaborative, Enriching Scholarship is an annual week-long series of seminars and workshops on integrating technology with teaching, learning, and research. If you are interested in adding to your technology toolkit or learning about great uses of technology in teaching at U-M, you have nearly 100 sessions to choose from at this year's conference. Registration is free and open to the University of Michigan community. Read more »


Large courses present some distinct challenges to teachers and students. How, for example, can hundreds of students practice challenging concepts simultaneously? And how can instructors in large courses gain insights about the learning of all of their many students? 

CRLT has sponsored several faculty learning communities focused on effective strategies for teaching in large courses. Faculty members learn together about pedagogical tools and technologies that facilitate student learning and then develop concrete applications for them in their specific courses. In this 6-minute video, one participant, psychology professor Pamela Davis-Kean, highlights her use of Google Forms to provide students practice with key skills and difficult concepts in an upper-level course of 150 students. She recommends it as a flexible, easy-to-learn technology that can enhance student interaction and engagement in a large course setting. Read more »


Interested in incorporating a new technology into your teaching? Looking for a boost to get started? Or a refresher on a technology you learned about at Enriching Scholarship in the spring? Join the Teaching with Technology Collaborative on Friday, November 21, for TeachTech FeastFest, a day-long series of 75-minute sessions on a range of technologies you can use in your courses.

Sessions will allow participants to sample and share ideas about a variety of tools and techniques to enhance student learning through technology. Topics include: screencasting, transitioning to the Canvas learning management system, designing effective presentation slides, using videoconferencing to connect your students with guest speakers around the world, understanding the enhancements of the latest version of iClicker, and much more. Register here soon: sessions are filling up quickly!

On this CRLT webpage, you can find a regularly-upated collection of examples of U-M instructors using these technologies and more. As always, CRLT consultants are also available to help you think through plans for integrating instructional technology into your particular courses.  Read more »


This semester, we are pleased to welcome peer instruction guru Eric Mazur to campus, presenting two talks and a workshop on February 14.  Eric Mazur is the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University. In 1990, he began developing Peer Instruction, an active learning method, and he is the author of Peer Instruction: A User's Manual (Prentice Hall, 1997), a book that explains how to teach large lecture classes interactively. In 2011, he founded Learning Catalytics, a company that uses data analytics to improve learning in the classroom. We hope to see you at one or more of the events below. 

Peer Instruction: Confessions of a Converted Lecturer

Friday, 2/14/2014 - 9:00am - 10:30am 

I thought I was a good teacher until I discovered my students were just memorizing information rather than learning to understand the material. Who was to blame? The students? The material? I will explain how I came to the agonizing conclusion that the culprit was neither of these. It was my teaching that caused students to fail! I will show how I have adjusted my approach to teaching and how it has improved my students' performance significantly.

Student Learning Analytics at Michigan: Catalyzing Learning Using Learning Catalytics

Friday, 2/14/2014 - 12:00pm - 1:15pm Read more »