The following workshops are available in flexible formats, presented in any setting. Emphasizing the scholarship of teaching, they are:

  • Classroom tested
  • Highly interactive
  • Research based
  • Active Learning: Energizing the Classroom
  • VARK and Active Learning: A Learning Styles Starter Kit
  • Lively Lectures: Engaging Students in Large Classes
  • How to Teach Critical Thinking Using Active Learning
  • Active Learning as Classroom Assessment
  • A Flexible Active Learning Workshop
  • A Brief Listing of Institutions that are Benefiting from These Workshops
  • A Brief Biography of Charles C. Bonwell

Active Learning: Energizing the Classroom

Why does so little active learning occur in the typical classroom? This interactive workshop answers this important question. The session explores the promise and the potential problems of using active learning techniques in the classroom and models ways for faculty to transform students from passive listeners to active learners.

Specific topics include:

  • What is active learning?
  • Why is active learning important?
  • What barriers prevent faculty from using active learning strategies?
  • How can these barriers be overcome?

Particular emphasis is placed on lessening the risk of using active learning in the classroom.

VARK and Active Learning: A Learning Styles Starter Kit

This interactive session introduces VARK (Visual, Aural, Read/write and Kinesthetic), a short, practical learning styles inventory. Based on the sensory modalities humans use to process information, this inventory can help faculty choose teaching strategies that meet their students’ needs. During the workshop participants evaluate their own preferences, select teaching methods suitable for their classroom, and explore VARK-based tools designed to improve students’ study habits.

Lively Lectures: Engaging Students in Large Classes

This workshop examines obstacles to using active learning in large classes, then demonstrates ways to overcome these barriers. Teaching strategies suitable for large classes are presented and discussed. Based on institution-specific data, faculty develop explicit ways to create a supportive environment for students who feel disenfranchised in large classes.

How to Teach Critical Thinking Using Active Learning

All instructors want students to become proficient at thinking logically, solving problems, or making decisions. This workshop explores:

  • Varied definitions of critical thinking.
  • What specific thinking skills we want to develop in our students.
  • How to develop specific activities that can promote thinking skills.
  • How questioning skills promote critical thinking.
  • How to assess critical thinking.

Participants explicitly identify important disciplinary thinking skills that students should possess and then devise active learning strategies to help students extend their abilities within the context of a specific classroom assignment.


Active Learning as Classroom Assessment

Active learning can play a key role in classroom assessment: an issue at the forefront of higher education. This workshop explores

  • the basics of assessment,
  • examines the role of active learning strategies for assessing: levels of student learning; individual and group projects; our own performance in the classroom, and
  • demonstrates techniques for assessing active-learning strategies.

Throughout the workshop, faculty will model using active learning to assess course objectives.

A Flexible Active Learning Workshop

This workshop encourages institutions to devise sessions of any desired length to meet their specific needs for promoting active learning.

Potential topics include:

  • Creating effective, traditional lectures.
  • Developing supportive behaviors that increase student learning.
  • Exploring our implicit and explicit roles in the classroom.
  • Promoting effective listening skills for classroom discussion and student advising.
  • Designing an effective course based on the principles of active learning.
  • Effective formats range from large group activities to individual consultations.

A Brief Listing of Institutions that are Benefiting from These Workshops

Community Colleges

  • Edison Community College
  • Houston Community College
  • Kansas City, Kansas Community College
  • Lincolnland Community College
  • Macomb Community College
  • Madisonville Community College
  • Oakland Community College
  • Westchester Community College
  • Western Nebraska Community College
  • Western Texas College

International Universities

  • Joseph Attila University, Szeged, Hungary
  • National University of Ireland- Maynooth
  • University of Limburg, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  • University of the West Indies

Private Institutions

  • American Accounting Association
  • American Agricultural Economic Association
  • Drake University
  • Friends University
  • Kentucky Wesleyan University
  • Ralston Purina Company
  • St. Francis College

Professional Schools

  • University of Colorado Medical Center
  • Michigan State University, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • University of Richmond, E.C. Robins School of Business
  • St. Lukes School of Nursing
  • University of Mississippi, College of Pharmacy

Research Universities

  • Appalachian State University
  • University of Arkansas
  • Cornell University
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Illinois
  • Kansas State University
  • University of Nebraska
  • University of Michigan
  • The Ohio State University
  • Rutgers University
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Tennessee

Regional Universities

  • Morehead State University
  • Slippery Rock University
  • Southeast Missouri State University
  • Southern Indiana University
  • Truman State University
  • University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse

A Brief Biography of Charles C. Bonwell

Charles C. Bonwell, directed Centers for Teaching and Learning at the Saint Louis College of Pharmacy (1993-1998) and Southeast Missouri State University (1990-1993). A former Professor of History, he received a B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and his Ph.D. from Kansas State University in the history of science and technology. As an instructional consultant, he has facilitated over 250 workshops nationally and internationally for faculty and teaching assistants on active learning and critical thinking, and has given the keynote address at numerous regional, national, and international conferences. In 1986 Bonwell was one of 50 faculty honored nationwide by the American Association of Higher Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for his “outstanding educational leadership.” He is co-author, with James Eison, of the best-selling ASHE-ERIC monograph Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom (1991). In 1996, Jossey-Bass published Using Active Learning in College Classrooms: A Range of Options for Faculty, co-authored with Tracey Sutherland.