Teaching, Learning, & Assessment

The Division of Academic Excellence and Development exists to support faculty in course planning, design, delivery, and assessment. We are currently located in 248 Coleman Center.

Western’s instructors deliver courses via four modalities:

Face to Face:  These course are the traditional approach to education in which students and the instructor meet in-person for each class period; for instance, a 3-credit class might meet three times per week for one hour each meeting.

Blended:  These courses combine classroom time and online time; for instance, a 3-credit class might meet face-to-face for two periods per week and online for the third period.

Online:  These courses do not typically meet face-to-face; instead, all instructional delivery occurs online. While students in online courses have a bit more flexibility with when they “attend” class, it is important to understand that  these are not self-paced classes—they include specific due dates.

Interactive Distance Learning (IDL):  Through IDL, students participate in classes that are taught face-to-face on one campus and simultaneously broadcast via cameras and microphones to other participants gathered at locations throughout the Western District.

 

Regardless of modality, effective teaching is grounded in best practice informed by studies in learning science, teaching methodology, and curriculum & assessment development.  The links below connect you to both research and tools that support promote powerful teaching and learning.

Assessment  Assessments are a critical piece of teaching and learning because they inform both the student and the teacher about what is happening (or not) in the classroom.  This page has resources on formative and summative assessment ideas.

Instructional Strategies  Western Technical College encourages instructors to use active learning as a framework for teaching. Discussions, role-plays, cooperative learning, and inquiry learning are forms of active learning.

Instructional Frameworks  Instructional frameworks are the conceptual frameworks that guides the development and implementation of an entire course.  Examples of instructional frameworks include flipping the classroom, service learning, and project-based learning.

The Classroom Community  Creating a sense of community within our classrooms offers another way of supporting students cognitively, socially, and emotionally.  Building a strong classroom community may help in Western’s ongoing efforts to retain students.

Students as Learners  Central to powerful teaching is understanding who our students are as learners.  Research in neuroscience and social science have informed educators’ perspectives on how to prime the brain for learning, the unique challenges some first-generation students might encounter, and a host of other findings important for instructors to consider.

Classroom Management   Classroom management encompasses everything an educator does to organize materials, space, time, and students to maximize learning opportunities.

Mindfulness  Mindfulness is a way of paying attention that helps educators and students alike to be more deliberate in teaching and learning.  Mindfulness benefits our practice in addition to our physical and mental well-being.

Reflective Practice  Reflective practice refers to a continuous learning process whereby educators study their practice in order to improve it.

Writing Across the Curriculum  The Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) initiative is designed to encourage Western faculty members from across the college to integrate writing into their curriculum (as a learning activity and/or form of assessment) by increasing awareness of the value of writing and by empowering faculty to create assignments and evaluate writing in their classrooms.

What We Offer   In order to support your teaching and help you grow as a professional educator we offer teaching consultations, classroom observations, and facilitated course feedback.