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Great Ideas for Teaching (GIFT)

You have a GIFT, and we would like you to share it!

The Office of Curriculum and Instructional Support is excited to collect Great Ideas for Teaching (GIFT) in which you, the educator, share an instructional technique, project, design, or pedagogical method that yields a positive experience for your students (e.g., contributes to persistence, increased engagement, meaningful learning). GIFTs are easily adopted and adapted by faculty in any discipline (i.e., specific and detailed enough to be easily enacted, but general enough to be able to be used in many different courses and programs). 

Your CIS Team is Ready to Support You

Do you have an idea, but aren’t sure where to start? John Jackson provides a few tips to prepare for the delivery of your GIFT in this short video.

Email the CIS team.  


Building Community:

The Impact of Out of Class Meetings to Foster Community and Improve Writing (3:34)
Dr. Kirsten Weber discusses the positive impact of holding out-of-class discussions with students to review instructor feedback and develop an implementation plan.


Personal Email in Large Classes (2:07)
Dr. Kirsten Weber discusses the community-building strategy of sending individualized emails to students.



Partners for Discussion and Engagement (3:12)
Dr. Jim McDonald shares the process and benefits of creating revolving partnerships within the classroom to increase discussion and engagement.



Connecting with Students through Index Cards and Question Sets (2:31)
Dr. Richard Hayes shares the simple but impactful idea of gathering information from his graduate and undergraduate students using specific questions that he later ties into classroom and instructional activities.



The Positive Impact of Humor in the Classroom (7:18)
Dr. Holly Hoffman explains the positive impact of using humor to build a positive classroom environment.


Extending the Learning Environment:

Thinking Like a Blended Educator (2:57)
Dr. Jessica Wicks explains how, when thinking like a blended educator, you can fully harness the power of your teaching tools and methods to extend learning from a live session beyond that space and time.


The Nomadic Classroom: Using the CMU Campus as a Learning Space (1:59)
Dr. Richard Hayes explains how to use class subject matter to create activities that encourage students to explore the CMU campus.


Extending Your Classroom Through Social Media (2:53)
Dr. Doug Lapp shares how learning can be extended beyond the classroom through three strategies using Facebook.


Increasing Motivation:

The Nudge: A Simple Gesture to Foster Persistence (3:10)
Dr. Becker shares the importance of outreach to encourage persistence, community, and support in the classroom.


The Buffer Deadline (3:29)
Dr. Jeremy Bond shares the value of creating a successful classroom policy called "the buffer deadline."


Class Activities:

Using Role Play to Practice Clinical Interviewing and Diagnosis (6:10)
Dr. Allison Arnekrans shares an easy-to-facilitate mock role play activity for students to practice their clinical interviewing skills in a simulated situation with immediate feedback and reflection. This activity would work well for students studying the helping professions (e.g., counseling, social work, psychology, nursing, etc.).


Using a Murder Mystery to Teach Theory (3:25)
Jeanne Chaffin describes the method of using a murder mystery to introduce students to theory.


Team-Based Learning Questions (2:40)
Dr. Jim McDonald explains the value of utilizing team-based learning questions as a means of garnering richer discussion and deeper learning.


Using Games to Teach Concepts (6:26)
Dr. Anja Mueller shares the impact of using collaborative games to reinforce learning and increase motivation.