Missouri State University

Best Practices for Teaching and Learning

Best Practices for Blended/Online Instruction

Best Practices and Review Standards for Online Instruction

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The Guidelines on Learning that Inform Teaching Based on Ken Bain “What the Best College Teachers Do”

Developed by the faculty of the University of New South Wales (UNSW Australia)

1.     Effective learning is supported when students are actively engaged in the learning process.

Bonwell, C. & Eison, J. 1991, Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom, ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education, Washington DC, viewed 20 June 2007, Chickering, A. & Gamson Z. 1987, “Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education”, Reprinted by University of Illinois, Springfield, viewed 20 June 2007,

2.     Effective learning is supported by a climate of inquiry where students feel appropriately challenged and activities are linked to research and scholarship.

Jenkins, A., Blackman, T., Lindsay, R. & Paton-Salzberg, R. 1998, “Teaching and research: students’ perspectives and policy implications”, Studies in Higher Education, vol. 23, no.2, p. 132.
McInnis, C. 2003, “Exploring the nexus between research and teaching”, in R. Freestone, A. Bagnara, M. Scoufis & C. Pratt (eds), 2003, The Learning Community: First Explorations of the Research-Teaching Nexus at UNSW, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, p. 9.

3.     Activities that are interesting and challenging, but which also create opportunities for students to have fun, can enhance the learning experience.

Ramsden, P. 1992, Learning to Teach in Higher Education, Routledge, London, p. 102.

4.     Structured occasions for reflection allow students to explore their experiences, challenge current beliefs, and develop new practices and understandings.

Bowden, J., Hart, G., King, B., Trigwell, K. & Watts, O. 2000, “Generic capabilities: a framework for action:, in Generic Capabilities of ATN University Graduates, viewed 23 March 2004, Gibbs, F. 1981, Teaching Students to Learn: A Student-Centred Approach, The Open University Press, Milton Keynes, p. 91.

5.     Learning is more effective when prior experience and knowledge are recognized and built on.

Schulman, L. 1999, “Taking learning seriously”, Change, vol. 31, no. 4, p. 12, viewed 23 March 2004, URL: http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/elibrary/docs/taking.html
Bransford, J., Brown, A. & Cocking, R. 1999, How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, p. 66.
Ausubel, D., Novak, J. & Hanesian, H. 1978, Educational Psychology: A Cognitive View, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, p. 163. 

6.     Students become more engaged in the learning process if they can see the relevance of their studies to professional, disciplinary and/or personal contexts.

Stein, D. 1998, Situated Learning in Adult Education, ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Career and Vocational Education, Columbus OH, viewed 23 March 2004, URL: http://ericae.net/edo/ed418250.htm 

7.     If dialogue is encouraged between students and teachers and among students (in and out of class), thus creating a community of learners, student motivation and engagement can be increased.

Chickering, A. & Gamson Z. 1987, “Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education”, Reprinted by University of Illinois, Springfield, viewed 20 June 2007,
Stefanou, C. & Salisbury-Glennon, J. 2002, “Developing motivation and cognitive learning strategies through an undergraduate learning community”, Learning Environments Research, vol. 5, no. 1, p. 78. 

8.     The educational experiences of all students are enhanced when the diversity of their experiences are acknowledged, valued, and drawn on in learning and teaching approaches and activities.

Gurin, P. 1998, Expert Report of Patricia Gurin: Summary and Conclusions, Regents of the University of Michigan, viewed 23 March 2004, URL: http://www.umich.edu/~urel/admissions/legal/expert/gurintoc.html
Humphreys, D. 1998, The Impact of Diversity on College Students: The Latest Research, Association of American Colleges & Universities, Washington DC, viewed 23 March 2004, URL: http://www.diversityweb.org/research_and_trends/research_evaluation_impact/benefits_of_diversity/impact_of_diversity.cfm
James, R. & Baldwin, G. 1997, Tutoring and Demonstrating: A Guide for the University of Melbourne, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, The University of Melbourne, viewed 23 March 2004, 

9.     Students learn in different ways and their learning can be better supported by the use of multiple teaching methods and modes of instruction (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and read/write).

Chickering, A. & Gamson Z. 1987, “Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education”, Reprinted by Honolulu Community College, National Learning Infrastructure Initiative, 2003, Mapping the Learning Space: Design Implications, Educause, viewed 23 March 2004,

10.  Clearly articulated expectations, goals, learning outcomes, and course requirements increase student motivation and improve learning.

Race, P. 2001, The Lecturer’s Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Learning, Teaching and Assessment, Kogan Page, London, p. 21.
Ramsden, P. 1992, Learning to Teach in Higher Education, Routledge, London, p. 96.
Gibbs, F. 1995, Assessing Student Centred Courses, The Oxford Centre for Staff Development, Oxford, p. 8.

11.  When students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning, they are more likely to develop higher-order thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Gibbs, G. & Habeshaw, T. 1989, Preparing to Teach: An Introduction to Effective Teaching in Higher Education, Technical and Educational Services Ltd, Bristol, p. 37.
Zimmerman, B. 1998, “Developing self-fulfilling cycles of academic regulation: an analysis of exemplary instructional models”, in D. Schunk & B. Zimmerman, (eds), Self-Regulated Learning: From Teaching to Self-Reflective Practice, The Guildford Press, New York, p. 1.

12.  Graduate attributes – the qualities and skills the university hopes its students will develop as a result of their university studies – are most effectively acquired in a disciplinary context.

Bowden, J., Hart, G., King, B., Trigwell, K. & Watts, O. 2000, “Generic capabilities: a framework for action:, in Generic Capabilities of ATN University Graduates, viewed 23 March 2004, Scoufis, M. 2000, Integrating Graduate Attributes into the Undergraduate Curricula, Centre for Academic Development and Flexible Learning University of Western Sydney, Sydney, p. 1.

13.  Learning can be enhanced and independent learning skills developed through appropriate use of information and communication technologies.

Housego, S. & Freeman, M. 2000, “Case studies: integrating the use of Web-based learning systems into student learning”, Australian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 258-82, viewed 23 March 2004, URL: http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet16/housego.html
McCann, D., Christmass, J., Nicholson, P. & Stuparich, J. 1998, Educational Technology in Higher Education, Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Canberra, p. 17, viewed 23 March 2004,

14.  Learning cooperatively with peers – rather than in an individualistic or competitive way – may help students to develop interpersonal, professional, and cognitive skills to a higher level.

Chickering, A. & Gamson Z. 1987, “Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education”, Reprinted by University of Illinois, Springfield, viewed 25 May 2012, Millis, B. & Cottell, P. 1998, Cooperative Learning for Higher Education Faculty, American Council on Education and the Oryx Press, Phoenix Arizona, p. 17.

15.  Effective learning is facilitated by assessment practices and other student learning activities that are designed to support the achievement of desired learning outcomes.

Biggs, J. 2002, Aligning Teaching and Assessment to Curriculum Objectives, Higher Education Academy, viewed 2 June 2007, Isaacs, G. 2001, Assessment for Learning, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, pp. 10-11.
James, R., McInnis, C. & Devlin, M. 2002, Assessing Learning in Australian Universities, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne, p. 10.

16.  Meaningful and timely feedback to students improves learning.

Chickering, A. & Gamson Z. 1987, “Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education”, Reprinted by University of Illinois, Springfield, viewed 24 May 2012,
Isaacs, G. 2001, Assessment for Learning, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, pp. 10-11.

Ideas for Implementation of the seven principles: http://home.capecod.net/~tpanitz/7ideas.htm

Also techniques used for the seven principles: http://www.sc.edu/cte/guide/undergraduateducation/index.shtml