At its core, pedagogy is the art, science, methods, and profession of teaching. Pedagogy can be viewed as an umbrella housing many related portions, which focus on topics such as methods, cultural aspects, practice, assessment of learning, and more. The teaching toolbox provides information for faculty and instructions for improving teaching through new pedagogical methods and assessment of student learning. The toolbox also provides resources to help build spaces that are equitable and inclusive and creating engaged learning opportunities. Think of this as a jumping off point and we encourage you to keep exploring the pedagogical world.
Effective Course Design
Teaching and Learning Frameworks
Teaching and learning frameworks are research-informed models for course design that aid instructors in creating learning goals with learning activities, constructing motivating and inclusive environments, and integrating assessment. They serve as conceptual maps for preparing or revising any course, syllabus, assessment, assignment, or lesson. Two examples of these frameworks are Backward Design and Integrated Course Design.
Backward Design differs from classic beginning-to-end approaches to instructional design where the instructor first decides what content to teach before developing activities and assessments for the resulting learning. Backward Design instead begins with desired end goals by focusing on what the learner will learn, rather than what the teacher will teach. In this sense, Backward Design is a student-centered approach.
Integrated Course Design
Fink's Integrated Course Design expands Backward Design into a detailed methodology specific to higher education. Fink's model emphasizes the interrelatedness of the components of course design: analyze the situation, formulate learning goals, design feedback and assessment, and select the teaching/learning activities.
Fink, L. Dee. (2013). Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series.
Wiggins GP, McTighe J. (2005). Understanding by Design. Moorabbin, Vic: Hawker Brownlow Education.
The Guiding Principles for Assessment at UNC state that the purpose of assessment is to improve teaching and learning. Assessment focuses faculty attention on student learning and provides information for meaningful discussions about our course objectives, course organization, pedagogy, and student development. This section of the toolkit provides guidance on writing course-level student learning outcomes and developing classroom assessment techniques for formative and summative assessment.
Equity & Inclusion
UNC is committed to the transformative power of education for all members of the campus community. University values of equity, inclusion, and diversity in the broadest sense create an environment where all UNC members can fulfill their potential. These values are important in the classroom, and this section of the toolkit provides resources for developing inclusive classrooms. Inclusive classrooms are characterized by:
- Assuring that the classroom is usable by students with differing characteristics, including accessible work stations and appropriate lighting and acoustic characteristics, etc.
- Building and maintaining an environment where all students feel comfortable expressing their opinions.
- Reviewing course content from multiple standpoints.
- Including research and writings from authors of diverse backgrounds.
- Being cognizant that scholars are influenced by their own worldview and their scholarship reflects this.
- Using multiple teaching methods to aid the academic success of students with varying learning styles.
- Encouraging critical thinking and academic excellence in a respectful environment.
- Recognizing and appreciating within-group differences, meaning that not all members of any particular group will hold the same opinion on any given issue.
- Assuring that all activities, materials, and equipment are physically accessible to and usable by all
For more information on inclusive classrooms, see Saunders & Kardia (1997) Creating Inclusive College Classrooms. Also review the presentation on inclusive classrooms from UNC's Department of Equity & Inclusion.
Equity-Minded Syllabus Design
The syllabus is often the first point of contact that our students have with us and our course. It sets the tone for the course regarding how a student views the classroom climate. An equity-minded syllabus helps students have a positive experience in the course from day one. Some great resources on the topic of equity minded syllabus design:
Tips for Creating a More Inclusive Syllabus - UNC's Susan Keenan and Ginger Fisher, faculty in Biological Sciences, share tips for creating an inclusive syllabus.
Developing an Equity-Minded Syllabus Webinar - UNC's Susan Keenan and Cindy Shellito discuss strategies for developing an equity-minded syllabus. Examples are included.
Syllabus Accessibility Statements - UNC's Tara Wood, Assistant Professor of English, co-authored this piece that asks faculty to rethink the language of the accessibility statement.
Accessible Syllabus - This website discusses inclusive design from the use of images and text to tone and language.
Community engaged teaching and learning provides students opportunities to apply content and disciplinary knowledge beyond the classroom, thus enhancing their learning experience while also positively impacting our communities. Community Engaged Learning (CEL) combines academic coursework and high impact practices by collaborating with partners to address challenges through:
- engagement practices that address societal needs identified by a community
- intentional integration of learning outcomes co-created with community partner(s)
- student preparation and ongoing critical reflection
- clearly articulated mutual benefits for students, community, and campus partners
- opportunities to critically examine social issues and situate self within a community setting
Get to Know UNC Students
Visit Institutional Reporting and Analysis Services for details about student enrollment and student success. UNC conducts numerous surveys of students. Contact the Office of Assessment for information about alumni placement and undergraduate student experiences and satisfaction. The Graduate School conducts annual surveys of graduate students that provide feedback on their experiences at UNC.