Books on Related Topics

Books on Related Topics

On:  Active Learning
  • Barkley, Elizabeth F.  2010. Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

This is a sizeable collection of techniques that enable teachers to do a better job of engaging students in doing the work of learning.

  • Bonwell, C.C. and Eison, J.A. 1991.  Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom.  ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report 1.  Washington, D.C. George Washington University.

This is the book that established the term and the concept of active learning solidly in the professional literature of college teaching.

On:  Feedback and Assessment
  • Barkley, E.F. and Major, C.H. 2016.  Learning Assessment Techniques.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.

Barkley & Major describe 50 different techniques for assessing learning.  They have organized these in terms of which kind of learning in Fink’s taxonomy is best addressed by each technique.  They also offer a description of the Learning Assessment Cycle that focuses on each of the important steps involved in good assessment of learning.

  • Wiggins, G. 1998.  Educative Assessment: Designing Assessments to Inform and Improve Student Performance. San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.

This is an extremely important book because it shows how we need to change our assessment procedures if we want them to enhance student learning as well as to audit it.

  • Walvoord, B.E. and Anderson, V.J.  2009.  Effective Grading:  A Tool for Learning and Assessment, 2nd edition.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.

Especially effective at laying out procedures for making our criteria and standards clearer and better.  But also shows how grading and assessment need to be a more integral part of the whole educational process.

  • Zubizarreta, J.  2009. The Learning Portfolio: Reflective Practice for Improving Student Learning, 2nd edition. Bolton, MA: Anker.

Like “teaching portfolios,” learning portfolios are a potent device both for fostering self-awareness and for communicating something about oneself to others.  This book describes the idea of learning portfolios and offers examples of different ways of using them.

  • Enhancing student learning through effective formative feedback.  June, 2004.  By C. Juwah, D. Macfarlane-Dick, B. Matthew, D. Nicol, D. Ross, & B. Smith.  Higher Education Academy, York, England.

(Note:  The whole booklet is available online at: (click on “Download Publication”)

This booklet offers 7 principles of effective formative feedback, with multiple concrete examples of how college teachers have implemented each principle.

On:  Teaching with Small Groups
  • Sibley, J. and Ostafichuk, P. 2014.  Getting Started with Team-Based Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Team-based learning is a distinctive and unusually powerful form of teaching with small groups.  It is a “strategy” rather than a “technique,” and it is based on “teams” which are more powerful than “groups.”

This book contains many ideas on what has been learned about how to implement this teaching strategy effectively since the original book on this topic came out in 2004.

A website on team-based learning is available at:

  • Millis, B.J. and Cottell, P.G.  1998.  Cooperative Learning for Higher Education Faculty.  Phoenix: Oryx Press.

This contains information on multiple ways of using small groups in college teaching.

  • IF-AT Forms:  Information about the “Immediate Feedback-Assessment Technique” forms are available online:

These are extremely useful for giving multiple choice tests to groups.

On:  Power Issues and Alternative Paradigms
  • Weimer, Maryellen.  2002.  Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Weimer describes her own story of realizing the significance of the power dimension in all teaching.  She then describes how changing the power structure leads to four related changes: the role of the teacher, the role of the student, the function of the content, and the function of assessment.

  • Blumberg, Phyllis.  2009.  Developing Learner-Centered Teaching: A Practical Guide for Faculty.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

This book builds on and extends the main recommendations in Weimer’s book.

  • Barr, R.B. and Tagg, J. 1995.  “From Teaching to Learning – A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education.”  Change, 27 (6), 13-25.

This is the classic article that articulated the learning-centered paradigm for college teaching.

Other Books Describing Learning-Centered Approaches to Course Design
  • Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. 2005. Understanding By Design, 2nd ed. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD): Alexandria, VA.

This is the book that introduced the concept of “backward design” language: start with the end in mind and then work back toward the beginning.  Translated this means teachers should start the design process by defining their learning goals; then they should proceed to identifying their assessment activities and finally the learning activities.

  • Biggs, J. & Tang, C. 2011. Teaching for Quality Learning at University, 4th ed.  Society for Research into Higher Education, Berkshire, England.

Biggs, the original author of these ideas, coined the term “constructive alignment” to describe the central idea of his version of course design: First, identify the major Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO’s); then identify the Teaching/Learning Activities and the Assessment Tasks that are appropriate to the ILO’s.

-Developed by:   Dee Fink, author of:  Creating Significant Learning Experiences (Jossey-Bass, Updated Edition, 2013)