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CETL Workshop Series


High-ImpactHigh Impact Practices & Pedagogies

FY 23-24 Series

In collaboration with the Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) offered a year-long, workshop series dedicated to High Impact Practices (HIPs). This series went directly to the heart of the evidence-based teaching and learning strategies that enhance engaged learning and have a positive impact on the persistence, resilience, and success of all students.

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Evidence-Based Teaching Practices

     ...foundational to High Impact Practices

High Impact Practices (HIPs) are educational opportunities that have been widely tested and shown to improve student success, especially among historically underserved students. This year, High Impact Practices (HIPs) are a focal point of our programming and numerous collaborations across campus.

The AAC&U identifies eleven “teaching and learning practices” designated as High Impact Practices.

Much of this work stems from George Kuh’s (2008 and 2013) research on the topic.

You will notice that many of the discussions involving HIPs focus on programs and not pedagogies. It takes a little creativity to see the underlying teaching practices that result in a positive impact on learning. Likewise, it takes a moment to realize that HIPs emphasize engagement and subtly address the conditions necessary for engaged learning to happen. Research by Kuh and others ultimately present eight engaged learning practices that make high impact practices work:

  1. Setting performance expectations appropriately high and communicating these expectations to students
    1. Research indicates that students will reach for and attain high standards if they are course-level appropriate and explained appropriately. We refer to this as The Pygmalion Effect.
      1. We can help faculty set and communicate standards and create pathways for their accomplishment.
  2. Encouraging students to invest meaningful time and effort into realistic and complex tasks over an extended period of time.
    1. Think about the words here: “meaningful”, “time and effort”, “realistic”, “complex”, “extended” –they inform the teaching and learning connection.
      1. Most importantly, we need to make time for the learning to happen.
  3. 3. Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)
    1. Predictable patterns of meaningful interactions between students, between faculty and students, and with content has always been HIP.
    2. This gets at the value and impact of engagement –interaction and engagement are essential.
      1. Here, it is important to think across instructional modalities –how can we establish and sustain regular and substantive interaction with our students in a way that interests, motivates, and educates them?
  4. Challenging students’ ways of thinking, knowing, and doing with different experiences, shifting contexts, and diverse perspectives.
    1. Inherent in the concept of an educated person is the ability to critically assess information, viewpoints, ideas, and phenomena, not just in the world at large, but in our own lives. Our goal as educators is to help students learn how to think things through, not simply to react.
  5. Timely, frequent, and meaningful feedback
    1. On virtually all college campuses, including our own, students have shared one big ask of their professors: please provide timely, meaningful, and frequent feedback.
      1. Timely, frequent, and meaningful feedback are critical to student success at multiple levels: it informs strategic decisions about one’s ability to thrive in a class at a particular moment (semester) in time, it shows that the professor cares, it demonstrates fairness and reciprocity, it supports continuous improvement, and it helps students scaffold learning with the knowledge that they are building on a solid foundation and are heading in the right direction.)
  6. Structured opportunities for reflection and integrated learning
    1. We talk a lot about scaffolding and chunking these days.
      1. Research indicates that when faculty organize information and presentations in clear segments (chunks), and when they are scaffolded in both an individual class and the curriculum, students see and learn the connections necessary for advancement within a field of study.
      2. We can also scaffold metacognition and prior knowledge retrieval to higher-level, integrated learning.
  7. Real world scenarios, applications, relevance, and experience
    1. We cannot provide every student with the opportunity to travel the world, but we can use technology and instruction to do so virtually. We do this by addressing real-world phenomena through dynamic pedagogical interventions.
      1. We have learned a lot about virtual engagement through covid, and even more fundamentally, this item speaks to the need for relevance. We need to make learning experiences and topics relevant to our students, not just our disciplines. We can help students use and see real-world applications and scenarios in myriad ways.
  8. Public demonstrations of competence
    1. While “going public” is often associated with scholarship, there are ways that teaching and learning can not only occur in, but be shared in, the public domain. In class, on-campus, in the community, and online, there are many different ways for students to show what they know, and in a Universally Designed manner.
      1. We can help faculty create safe and brave, yet challenging, spaces for presentations or demonstrations of knowledge, skills, and accomplishments.

How we can work together
The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning’s commitment to student success is rooted in the nexus of evidence-based and evidence-generating practices. As a scholarly unit, we at once further the adoption of evidence-based practices in the curriculum and engage in research to generate new knowledge about teaching and learning across instructional modalities and disciplines. This year, High Impact Practices (HIPs) are a focal point of our programming. Specifically, we are actively involved in a number of initiatives designed to promote a culture of high impact teaching and learning at the University of Idaho. From work on the University of Idaho SUCCESS Team to exciting new transdisciplinary teaching and research collaborations, we are developing new strategies to unify faculty and integrate (and invent!) practices that create and sustain the conditions necessary for learning to happen. If you would like to learn more or engage in a teaching and research collaborative, please drop Brian Smentkowski a line!

FY 23-24 High Impact Workshops

FY 23-24 CETL Workshops

   ...on Evidence-Based
      Teaching Practices and HIPs

Aiming High
Aiming High: Setting and Achieving High Standards
Facilitator: Brian Smentkowski, Ph.D.

It is good academic practice to hold students to high expectations, though it is often a challenge to calibrate those expectations to both an appropriate level of rigor required of a class and student expectations of what is reasonable to them. In this session, we will explore ways you can chart a path towards appropriate performance expectations at the course and curriculum level while enlisting students on the journey so you can help them to thrive.

Recording: Aiming High: Setting and Achieving High Standards (36 min) | Slides



Scaffolded learning can improve student performance
Scaffolding the Learning Process
Facilitator: Douglas Habib, Ph.D.

We all have an image of what success looks like in our classes, but what if we focused on learning as a process and not exclusively or necessarily a product? Scaffolded learning activities provide students the opportunity to do the same amount of work, to master the same content, and to accomplish key learning goals, but in a segmented way that allows them to benefit from feedback en route to an A. Scaffolding facilitates deep learning, cumulative learning, metacognition, and increased learner independence. This workshop is your opportunity to take one of your learning activities and restructure it so you and your students can enjoy the benefits of scaffolded learning activities.

This workshop was offered in person and was not recorded.




Meaningful Interactions: The Key to Engaged Learning
Facilitator: Jen Elbek, Ph.D.
There is a lot of buzz about Regular and Substantive Interaction in higher education, and for good reason: it is at once a federal and accreditation-based requirement for all Online classes and the foundation of good teaching and learning across instructional modalities. This requires us --and our students-- to be present and engaged with course content and one another throughout the course of the semester. In this workshop you’ll learn not only how RSI expectations apply to your online classes, but you will also gain creative, engaging, and innovative ways to apply interactive learning techniques in all of your courses.

Recording: Meaningful Interactions: The Key to Engaged Learning (47 min)



Providing Meaningful Feedback
Timely and Meaningful Feedback: Simple yet Essential Steps to Student Success
Facilitator: Douglas Habib, Ph.D.

Timely and meaningful feedback is important for our students to develop and grow over time; however, we face challenges in both generating feedback and using it advantageously. When you attend this workshop you will get to delve into how you can advance learning, persistence, and a growth mindset through timely and meaningful feedback. Specifically, participants will learn how to develop and deliver a variety of feedback opportunities designed to help students grow and thrive.

Recording: Timely and Meaningful Feedback: Simple yet Essential Steps to Student Success (54 min)



Metacognition and Critical Reflection
Making Time for the Learning to Happen: Opportunities and Strategies for Reflection and Integrated Learning
Facilitator: Brian Smentkowski, Ph.D.

One of the mistakes we occasionally make is assuming that because we teach, our students learn. We need to connect our teaching to learning, and sometimes that simply means giving them time and opportunities for the learning to happen. In this session we will explore strategies to foster meaningful critical reflection and how to help students think about their thinking and learn about their learning. This requires surprisingly little effort on our part. Participants will be given templates and strategies designed to help students articulate their learning and a simple “cognitive wrappers” rubric that helps students become more aware of (and correct) the factors affecting their learning in the classroom, in the field, and even abroad. Faculty seeking to develop and enhance community-engaged/service-learning classes may find this session particularly interesting.

Recording: Making Time for the Learning to Happen: Opportunities and Strategies for Reflection and Integrated Learning (1 hr) | Slides



Foster Critical Thinking
Challenging Students Ways of Thinking and Knowing
Facilitator: Brian Smentkowski, Ph.D.

At the heart of the teaching and learning enterprise --and a liberal education itself-- is the development of independent, creative, and critical thinking and thinkers. Indeed, the fundamental mission of the university is to preserve, extend, and promote the tradition and practice of thinking things through. In this session, we will examine strategies to build these skills, to liberate learning and thought, and to challenge intellectual deference and indifference.

Recording: Challenging Students Ways of Thinking and Knowing (1 hr) | Slides



AReal World Scenarios
Make it Matter: Real World Scenarios, Applications, and Experiences
Facilitator: Jen Elbek, Ph.D.

When it comes to engagement in any learning environment, authenticity and relevance to students matters. Bringing in opportunities for students to apply what they are learning to real world scenarios makes course content more meaningful, impactful, and memorable. Real world scenarios, applications, and learning experiences –including service learning, guest speakers, study abroad and COIL opportunities—also stimulate student interest, motivation, and perseverance. In this workshop participants will map out opportunities and tasks designed to reveal real-world applications of knowledge and experience and the learning goals that can be attained through them.

Recording: Make it Matter: Real World Scenarios, Applications, and Experiences (50 min)



Show What You Know
Show What You Know: Going Public with Learning
Facilitator: Sean Quallen, Ph.D.

Public demonstrations of learning and skill are not limited to classes and disciplines historically associated with public performances (music and theatre, for example); they can provide invigorating, rewarding, and professionally relevant ways for students to collaborate, develop, show, and build confidence in and beyond the classroom. Presentations, posters, and peer review practices go beyond traditional classroom learning, offering students opportunities to actively engage with the subject matter and develop vital skills, even in Online courses. Participants will explore an inventory of activities and strategies drawn from across the curriculum and discover how they can foster essential skills like communication, creativity, and collaboration that equips them for life beyond the academy.

Recording: Show What You Know: Going Public with Learning (49 min)