Dee Fink is the Director of the Instructional Development Program at University of Oklahoma, or he was when he wrote a book called: “Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses”

He also wrote short guide for instructors on how to design courses. It is called: ” A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning”  and it is available here: for download.

This is an excellent resource to help faculty who could use a guide on how to design their courses or just their assessments even. It is a quick read. We use it quite a bit.


Essay: In Defense of Cheating by Don Norman

Don Norman’s essay:  In Defense of Cheating describes some interesting things faculty can do to prevent cheating. Essentially his thesis is that we need to rethink and redesign our assessments so that cheating is not worthwhile.

I use this essay often to help faculty consider how poor traditional assessment strategies really are and to value some more progressive strategies.

It is an interesting essay and if you just Google “In Defense of Cheating”, you can always find it.

Quote: “Helping adults elaborate, create, and transform their meaning schemes…”

“Helping adults elaborate, create, and transform their meaning schemes (beliefs, feelings, interpretations, decisions) through reflection on their content, the process by which they were learned, and their premises (social context, history, and consequences) is what andragogy is about.“

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Quote: “… the ‘stuff’ to be learned…cannot just be ‘told’ to these people…”

“Perhaps the most important difference is that the ‘stuff’ to be learned—information, concepts, relationships, and so on—cannot just be ‘told’ to these people. It must be learned by them, through questions, discovery, construction, interaction, and, above all, fun.”

Prensky, Marc (2001). Digital Game-Based Learning, Toronto: McGraw-Hill. page 17

Quote: “Midwife-teachers are the opposite of banker-teachers…”

“Midwife-teachers are the opposite of banker-teachers. While the bankers deposit knowledge in the learner’s head, the midwives draw it out. They assist the students in giving birth to their own ideas, in making their own tacit knowledge explicit and elaborating it…Midwife-teachers focus not on their own knowledge (as the lecturer does) but on the students’ knowledge. They contribute when needed, but it is always clear that the baby is not theirs but the student’s.”

Belenky, M. F., Clinchy, B.M., Goldberger, N.R., & Tarule, J.M. (1986). Women’s way of knowing: The development of self, voice and mind. New York: Basic

Quote: “Student learn not by attending lectures…”

“Students learn not by attending lectures and taking notes, but by becoming involved with the content to be learned. Continued reliance upon teaching strategies that encourage only passive attention to the content is a practice that warrants further attention. The nature of student involvement in the learning process is especially pertinent to the practice of distance education, for involvement is all too often only an elusive opportunity for the student separated by physical and temporal distance.”

Astin, A. (1985). Achieving excellence: A critical assessment of priorities and practices in higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.