Undergraduate teaching and learning improvement initiatives - definitions


Teaching and Learning: Directly related to academic degree plan or classroom goals and outcomes. Emphasizes cross-discipline and cross-departmental initiatives, skills, and involvement. Interdisciplinary or a component of the general education program. Learning goes beyond content to the more abstract skills of knowledge creation that students can apply to other areas (higher-order thinking skills). Teaching incorporates both intentions for skills development and results of activities implemented to develop skills. Content is the format by which skills will be transmitted.

Improvement: Positive change associated with outcomes that can be measured through assessment techniques. Occurs in response to challenge and criticism of the status quo. Increases the quality and/or value of teaching and learning.

 Movement: A teaching and learning activity that is defined and in use across multiple institutions; national conversations have developed and are taking place. The activity is often ‘grassroots’, moving from ground-up, as opposed to top-down. It must be a collective action, whose goal is a conceptual change or paradigm shift.

Reform: An institutional or departmental, top-down effort to change undergraduate teaching and learning. Distinguished from a ‘movement’ by the top-down (versus grassroots) effort.

Innovation: A bottom-up, grass roots effort to change undergraduate teaching and learning. Often taking place in individual classrooms as the result of faculty creativity and insight into the pedagogical process and classroom dynamics.


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