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Sep 15 / otl

Teaching Handbook

Are you looking to incorporate some new teaching and learning strategies to help you be at your best as a teacher? Is your goal to engage students and build a strong community of learners regardless of the environment – traditional, hybrid or online – in which you are teaching? The Office for Teaching and Learning (OTL) has designed the Teaching Handbook, an online resource meant to help all Wayne State University (WSU) instructors open the conversation about course design, student-centered teaching methods, and assessment.

For example, if your goal is use evidence based teaching methods to engage students, the Student-Centered Classrooms section of the Teaching Handbook will help you get started by providing suggestions for activities for the first day of class and examples of evidence-based teaching methods, such as think-pair-share, one-minute papers, or effective use of clickers. The Leading Discussions sub-section lists some of the benefits of leading discussions in a classroom, provides some strategies for implementing discussion, and includes resources for improving classroom discussions. Additionally, the sub-section Using Groups to Enhance Student Learning provides guidance on how to support students’ learning through groups and a video on how one WSU professor uses groups to enhance learning. Lastly, instructors can save time and help students make the best use of their time by creating clear instructions on the assignments. The Making Assignments Clear sub-section offers concrete strategies for designing clear assignments such as describe the purpose of the assignment, break instruction into steps, provide need-to-know information rather that nice-to-know, and use a rubric. Clear assignments will help students make the best of each assignment, and have an overall better experience in the course.

The Teaching Handbook is a great place to get ideas and find resources, but it is only the beginning. Consultants in the OTL are available to meet with you in person, by phone, or virtual meeting spaces (e.g., Skype or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra) to further discuss student-centered teaching methods and any of the other topics found in the Teaching Handbook. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the OTL at 313-577-0001 or email

Have you visited the Teaching Handbook? What is your favorite student-centered strategy that you found? Use the comments section below to let us know how you have incorporated student-centered strategies in your course.