Instructional Support Services

Enhancing Your Teaching

Since the mid-1980's, the explosion of the personal computer and software, the Internet, and communication tools has created a dizzying array of choices technologies that could be used in  teaching and learning.  There have been many reviews in  the literature on technology and learning which have concluded that technology, like any tool,  has a great potential to enhance student achievement only if used appropriately.   Inappropriate use can actually hinder learning in addition to being a waste of time and money.  Good instructors present course material and design learning environments and activities that engage their students to achieve the learning goals.  Sometimes technology doesn't enhance learning but it makes some aspect of managing a course faster or easier.  Indirectly, increasing convenience saves time that could be better spent for teaching and learning activities.

When choosing a technology it is important to first reflect and articulate what learning goals or teaching strategies you are trying to address.  There are many theories and frameworks but the following list is based on decades of  research where the authors identified 7 principles that were common to successful undergraduate learning experiences.

Seven Principles for Good practice in Undergraduate Education (Chickering and Gamson)

  1. encourages contact between students and faculty,
  2. develops reciprocity and cooperation among students,
  3. encourages active learning,
  4. gives prompt feedback,
  5. emphasizes time on task,
  6. communicates high expectations, and
  7. respects diverse talents and ways of learning.

Generally, it is good to reflect and decide on your learning goals and and then choose a technology to support it  but sometimes the technology itself inspires new ideas.  Learning about how others use technology [future link to gallery] and learning about technologies [link to integrating multimedia]  themselves is an alternate way of approaching  the options.


  • How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School (1999)
    Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (CBASSE)
  • Chickering, A.W., and Gamson, Z.F. (1991). Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. Number 47, Fall 1991. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.