Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Learning From Our Teaching By Reflecting On Iterative Pedagogical Changes

Many instructors at all levels teach the same course multiple times over a series of years. Certain innovations and changes that the instructor iteratively makes to the course can dramatically affect students’ performance and the instructor’s sense of effective pedagogy. However, few instructors have a system for tracking their pedagogical innovations and the effects that those have for students. In this poster, I draw on 5 years of data to report on one simple system for doing this tracking. After each semester, the instructor records some pre-established indicator of student learning (in this case, that semester’s final essay from the median-performing student), as well as any new pedagogical interventions that they tried. I analyze the content of these student essays in order to describe the disciplinary insights and encouragement that can come from such a recording system. This isn’t a causal assessment, per se, but I suggest that this type of reflective practice is a low-effort, high-insight strategy for instructors to learn from their own teaching efforts.

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Penman, Will
DC, English