The Journal on Excellence in College Teaching
The Journal on Excellence in College Teaching

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Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, Volume 5, Number 1 (1994)

Articles in this issue:

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PDF fileImproving the Teaching X Learning Connection

Richlin, L., & Cox, M. D.

Does teaching affect learning? is an important question if we are to focus our efforts to improve learning on innovations in teaching. We know that virtually nothing can prevent learning. Everyone-new babies, young children, adolescents, and adults-constantly acquires new information and tries to fit it into patterns that help make sense of the world. The difference between education and other activities is that teachers and professors attempt to guide the learning process, choosing what they think is important for students to know from the vast array of knowledge in their field, and selecting the approaches that most effectively help them communicate this knowledge.

PDF fileEncouraging Critical Thinking Using the Case Study Method and Cooperative Learning Techniques

Grossman, R. W.

Several workshops presented at the 1991 Lilly Conference on College Teaching provided the inspiration for redesigning an introductory psychology course. This article shows how cooperative learning teams can be taught to analyze case studies. Further, by using alternative conceptual frameworks to analyze these cases, students are encouraged to think more critically about all the theories presented in the course. This approach should be applicable to a variety of other courses.

PDF fileThe Effectiveness of Cooperative Learning Strategies in Multicultural University Classrooms

George, P. G.

Cooperative learning applications in multicultural university classrooms were the focus of this investigation. The purpose of the study was to compare selected cooperative learning methods (drill and review dyads, cooperative response techniques, and group grading incentives) with traditional learning methods. For 18 weeks, 61 students in undergraduate educational psychology classes participated in one of the two conditions. On three of four measures of achievement, the cooperative group showed significantly stronger performance than the noncooperative group. In addition, students exposed to the cooperative instructional methods reported significantly more favorable attitudes toward classroom instruction.

PDF fileStudying Lives through Literature: Using Narrative to Teach Social Sciences and Promote Students' Epistemological Growth

Boyatzis, C. J.

The author argues for the inclusion of narrative literature in social science courses. Narrative literature enhances students' understanding of scientific content by elucidating theoretical and empirical concepts with concrete examples. Narrative also may promote students' epistemological growth by demonstrating how truth and reality are constructed differently by different ways of knowing. Students must consider the role of the author's voice, motives, and memory in reconstructing truth. Balancing narrative with scientific material helps students realize that knowledge arises through a process of construction, and that this construction can occur in subjective, relative positions as well as objective, absolute positions. It also raises students' awareness of the diversity and complexity of human experience. Evidence of the effectiveness of autobiographical literature is presented, and suggestions for integrating literature into courses are offered.

PDF fileUsing Group Journals to Improve Writing and Comprehension

Bolling, A. L.

Individual journals have been used successfully in academic courses for the past few years. The group journal, however, capitalizes on the influence of collaboration and engenders more careful attention to writing performance, better attitudes toward writing, and greater comprehension of course content. This article first describes how collaboration affects the writing process and then reports the results of using individual and group journals concurrently in an upper-division writing course for prospective teachers.

PDF fileThe Renaissance of Educational Debate: Results of a Five-Year Study of the Use of Debate in Business Education

Combs, H. W., & Bourne, S. G.

Debate is an educational tool that has existed since ancient Greece. This article briefly covers the history and benefits of educational debate, then describes how debates were used in a senior marketing class. In a five-year study of the effectiveness of this instructional method, students reported that debates both enhanced their learning and improved their speaking skills.

PDF fileDisability in Higher Education: From Person-Based to Interaction-Based

Porter, J.

The meaning of disability is analyzed from a conventional and an alternative perspective. Results of this analysis are applied to such higher education issues as institutional role, pedagogical expectations, and program quality. The article advances a view of disability as interaction-specific rather than person-specific, as arising when the nature of the academic task or instructional environment fails to support adequately the learning characteristics of the student. Within this view, learning environments (including teachers) have a primary influence in creating or preventing educational disability. Implications of this position for all students in higher education, not only those conventionally designated as disabled, are explored.

PDF fileExpectations and Surprises in Learning to Teach a Member of the Deaf Culture

Manning, K.

This article chronicles the experience of a faculty member who, without prior training in teaching methodology or special education, taught a deaf graduate student in four courses. Writing from a practical perspective, the author discusses her expectations and reactions, what she learned about the Deaf culture, and what the student and the interpreters taught her about working with students who have disabilities.

PDF fileVideotaped Presentations in the Classroom

Silliker, S. A.

The use of videotaped versus live student presentations in the classroom was investigated. The results of a survey administered to all students indicated a preference for videotaped over live presentations. Qualitative benefits for students and teacher also were explored.

PDF fileThe Course Portfolio as a Tool for Continuous Improvement of Teaching and Learning

Cerbin, W.

This article explains how to use learning-centered course portfolios to improve teaching and learning. After developing a rationale for using teaching portfolios that focus on individual courses, the author discusses how course portfolios can be used to (a) document and assess more fully the substance and complexity of teaching, (b) connect assessment of teaching with assessment of learning, and (c) foster better teaching and learning. The article concludes with a discussion of portfolio use on the author's campus and in his own teaching.

PDF fileLearning to Teach

Beidler, P. G., & Tong, R.

Beidler and Tong first presented "Learning to Teach," based on a series of letters they wrote to each other, at a recent Lilly Conference on College Teaching at Miami University.

Editorial Staff, Editorial Board, and Reviewers for this issue:


Milton D. Cox, Miami University

Executive Editor:

Laurie Richlin, Antioch College

Managing Editor:

Linda S. Ormiston, Miami University

Editorial Board:

Thomas A. Angelo, Boston College

Ann E. Austin, Michigan State University

Claire L. Boge, Miami University

Sara L. Butler, Miami University

James Eison, University of South Florida

Kenneth L. Goodhue-McWilliams, California State University-Fullerton

James O. Hammons, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Mary Kay Kramp, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Joseph Lowman, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Kathleen Faith Mikitka, San Diego State University

Barbara J. Millis, The University of Maryland, University College

David Rehorick, University of New Brunswick

Mary Ann Shea, University of Colorado at Boulder

Ellen Shockro, Pasadena City College

Rosemarie Tong, Davidson College

Alan Wright, Dalohousie University

Guest Reviewers:

Peter G. Beidler, Lehigh University

Harvey J. Brightman, Georgia State University

Nancy V. N. Chism, The Ohio State University

Blythe M. Clinchy, Wellesley College

Philip G. Cottell, Jr., Miami University

Tony Grasha, University of Cincinnati

W. Lee Humphreys, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Patricia L. Linn, Antioch College

Mary Pat Mann, Ohio University

Robert J. Menges, Northwestern University

Ohmer Milton, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (retired)

Lawrence B. Nadler, Miami University

Marjorie K. Nadler, Miami University

Karen M. Schilling, Miami University

Jeffrey D. Sommers, Miami University

Marilla D. Svinicki, University of Texas at Austin

JoAnn DeA. Wallace, Antioch University