Sheet cake with TILE 500 written on it

In only eight  years, the TILE program has managed to leave a lasting impact on over 500 faculty members and thousands of students across the UI campus.


TILE, which encourages inquiry-guided, team-based teaching and learning, kicked off in 2010. Supported by the latest technology, TILE classrooms have transformed the ways instructors teach and students learn at Iowa. In 2018, there are 13 TILE classrooms, and faculty members have leveraged TILE pedagogies in more traditional spaces as well.


According to Chris Clark, Learning Spaces director in the Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology, “The evidence is clear that learning environments like our TILE classrooms have a positive, measurable effect on the student learning experience.”


UI faculty, administrators, and staff gathered recently to celebrate the faculty members who have incorporated TILE’s active learning pedagogies into their teaching through engagement with the Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology (OTLT). Two faculty members, Ana Rodriguez-Rodriguez, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese, and Heidi Lung, lecturer of Anthropology, graciously shared the impact that TILE has had on their teaching.


Rodriguez-Rodriguez recalled a break-through experience in her course where teams of students researched and reported on a “stop” on Spain’s Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James). She attributed the richness of this classroom exercise as a primary incentive for several of her students to study abroad. She noted that, “TILE is particularly suited to language instruction as the students are immersed in the language in all the activities.” She added that for faculty members and instructors, “TILE is a very special community. It’s a community transformed.”


TILE pedagogies also transformed the teaching experience for Lung. “I use a TILE philosophy in all my classes,” she says, “even when I’m not in a TILE room. Even in a regular lecture hall, I know TILE informs my teaching.” She is particularly grateful for the way TILE spaces create environments where students feel confident in tackling difficult conversations and topics.


Faculty members continue to be drawn to TILE strategies for teaching, as evidenced by the number who engage in formal TILE Essentials training as well as through consultations with OTLT staff.


Rodriguez-Rodriguez adds, “We’re all looking forward to the TILE 1000 Celebration in the coming years.”