An active-learning space (like TILE) can help facilitate collaborative learning, but is not strictly necessary.  Other iterations of Professor Andersland’s course have taken place in a fixed-seating lecture hall.  While active learning is more difficult in these spaces, it is still possible through strategies such as situating TAs sporadically around the room to help with immediate feedback. 

Professor Andersland encourages students to view their initial mistakes as part of their learning, creating an error-positive climate that helps students to gain mastery of course concepts. 

It may not be necessary to create online lectures from scratch.  A wealth of materials, including short, online lectures and homework platforms may already be available from professors on other campuses and from textbook publishers. Professor Andersland adapted a homework platform to provide material for his in-class assignments. 

Low-stakes formative assessment is crucial for allowing both the professor and the students to monitor learning.  While the online homework platform Professor Andersland uses offers many advantages, low-tech strategies such as minute papers and IF-AT quiz forms can serve similar purposes. 

Recognizing the places where students repeatedly struggle can allow the instructor to design crucial in-class learning experiences that help students to move beyond disciplinary bottlenecks.

Redesigning a course for active learning may require an investment in time.  A consultation from the Center for Teaching can help identify the support available to you. 


Extraordinary Teaching Project
The Extraordinary Teaching Project showcases the rich array of pedagogies and teaching philosophies University of Iowa instructors incorporate into their teaching.