Learning how your brain works will let you plan for engagement and limit distraction so you can connect with others while you’re apart.

We’re bad at virtual interaction and need to improve.

Everyone is rightly talking about “social distancing” as the only effective way to flatten the curve. We call it social distancing, but what we actually mean is physical distancing. Social bonds exist across space and time, and now more than ever, we must use technology to maintain them. Virtual interaction can lead to social connection, but it often feels impoverished because digitally mediated communication is not natural for our brains. In February of 2020, that was trivial…


Why do lectures persist?

This post was originally published on the Minerva Blog.

Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash

Decades of research demonstrate that active learning is superior to lectures, but lecturing is still the dominant mode of teaching. Why do lectures persist? One hypothesis is that faculty avoid active learning because it is inherently risky — and risk is uncomfortable. Students risk looking silly when asked to contribute, and professors risk having the whole lesson derailed by putting control in the hands of students. While active learning is riskier than a lecture, done well, it results in far better outcomes. …


Suzanne Kern + Christine Looser

Minerva Classroom
Minerva Classroom

COVID-19 has caused a paradigmatic shift in teaching and learning. Schools are prioritizing flexible course design to accommodate local pandemic responses and build resilience into their offerings. Redesigning a course sounds like a big lift, but it can be much easier if you go back to the basics of problem-solving. Begin with purpose, consider your constraints, break down your course components, and address any gaps that you find.

Purpose: Why are we doing what we’re doing?

Your job as an educator is obviously to help students learn. But think more specifically about what you are teaching and why. Is the point of a…


Özgür Özlük + Christine Looser

When things suddenly went online, it was not the time for new tools or techniques. But, now that you’re settling in, you might be thinking about how to level up. If you’ve decided to run live class sessions and realize that active learning will make them more engaging, excellent! First, permit yourself to believe that this can be just as good, if not better than classes you’ve run in the past. Now, let’s talk about how to make that happen.

Before you even get to class, plan the appropriate amount of content; active learning takes longer but will deepen the retention of what you cover.

  • When you lecture, you can transmit a lot of content in a short amount of…

Christine E. Looser

I like science, coffee, and creating things.

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