Teaching Tuesdays@CSU

NEW articles, links, tips and how-tos in higher education

Issue #11 - Deep Learning

May 15, 2018

In living the value of Insightful we act respectfully and perceptively to seek to understand why people think and behave in the ways that they do. Digging deep to understand the 'why' in addition to the 'what', we shift beyond taking words or actions at face value.

Teaching strategies that promote deep (intrinsic) learning encourage students to develop and expand their conceptual thinking.

This week’s bulletin is the next in our series examining teaching strategies that support the nine Dimensions of Teaching (Crisp et al., 2009 – see below).

Dimension 5: Students are encouraged to develop/expand their conceptual thinking.

Presenters Julie Schrock and Steven Benko explore the techniques of Socratic questioning to promote deep learning in the first of our webinar articles this week. Kenneth Alford and Tyler Griffin, in the second webinar, build on this concept to look at practical motivation strategies for unprepared students.

Facilitate Deep Learning and Student Engagement through Socratic Questioning

By Julie Schrock, PhD and Steven Benko PhD

Source: https://www.magnapubs.com/magna-commons/?video=14550

(See Magna Commons instructions below for free CSU subscription instructions to this source)

Socratic questioning: the instructor’s role is to ask questions to lead to deep, disciplined and focused thinking by the student.

This compares to the presenters’ description of the “typical questioning” IRE Model:
Initiation (by the instructor), Response (by the student), and Evaluation (by the instructor)

The major part of this 48-minute webinar is taken up with a series of short video clips in which the presenters model Socratic questioning techniques. After each clip, they respond to questions from the attendees with the result being a highly engaging and informative workshop that you can replay to develop your own understanding of which questions to ask, and why.

Their model for questioning is based on Paul and Elder’s Universal Structures of Thought (see the diagram, below). For further information see the Foundation for Critical Thinking website, or download Elder and Paul's sample booklet on Analytical Thinking.

QUOTE: This way of questioning really brings out difference, and different points of views and different opinions and perspective. So students, I think, are more eager to jump in, because they want their own point of view represented and they want to be heard.

Universal Structures of Thought. Whenever we think

  1. We think for a PURPOSE
  2. within a POINT OF VIEW
  3. based on ASSUMPTIONS
  5. We use INFORMATION (data, facts and experiences)
  7. based on CONCEPTS and THEORIES
  8. to answer a QUESTION or solve a PROBLEM.

The accompanying videos model questioning techniques based on each of these eight interconnected points. They run from 7:30 min to 17:30 min, and from 22:30 min to 42:00 min in the recording and each video is followed by a debriefing commentary. The supplementary PDF for this webinar provides sample questions that you might use to draw out each of these different elements in student responses. This webinar is designed to get you thinking and its structure means that you can view repeatedly to cement your own learning of the different questioning rationales.

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9 Learning Principles and Practices for Teaching Unprepared Students

By Kenneth Alford, PhD and Tyler Griffin, PhD

Source: https://www.magnapubs.com/magna-commons/?video=3077

(See Magna Commons instructions below for free CSU subscription instructions to this source)

Teaching Unprepared Students: Strategies that Work is another well-designed delivery from Ken Alford and Tyler Griffin, discussing the seemingly universal problem of students who are not prepared for their learning. These presenters discuss strategies for turning such students into self-directed and motivated learners in this 75-minute webinar. The framework for this talk:

Learning Principles and Teaching Practices

Principle 1: Not all students are prepared

  • Clearly state prerequisites
  • Help “at risk” students self-identify
  • Be available
  • Offer appropriate “catch-up resources”
  • Honesty

Principle 2: Students are responsible for their own learning


  • Specific
  • Measurable (quantification = a verb and a number)
  • Attainable
  • Rigorous
  • Timely

Principle 3: Students respond better to meaningful choices, with consequences

  • The rising generation struggles with deadlines


  • Clearly communicate fixed expectations
  • Provide firm consequences early in the course
  • Show them
  • Help them
  • Watch them
  • Let them

Principle 4: Students must “buy-in” to your subject

  • Front-loaded relevance: Start lessons with a relevant attention-getting activity or question
  • Where possible… Give students more ownership over course decisions
  • From your assigned reading for this presentation…
  • Please pull out your survey results so that we can compare them
  • How did that feel?
  • Help students be accountable

Principle 5: Students are thermometers, not thermostats

  • Provide incentives for students to help each other
  • Grading self-directed assignments…

Principle 6: One size doesn’t fit all

Whenever possible…

  • Provide alternate ways for students to prepare for class
  • Give students an opportunity to share what they are learning
  • Piazza.com

Principle 7: Relevance is king

  • So what?
  • Who cares?
  • Whose questions are we helping students answer? Ours or theirs?

Principal 8: Students need appropriate “just-in-time” opportunities

  • Reflective questions
  • Announced vs. unannounced quizzes
  • Brief in-class writing experiences

Principle 9: Clarity counts

  • Share examples and non-examples, when possible

The Bottom Line: What you do – matters!

Presentation handouts, full transcripts and supplementary resources are available for download from the Magna Commons website if you don't have time to listen to the seminar.

Dimensions of Teaching

Dimension 5: Students are encouraged to develop/expand their conceptual understanding

Indicative teaching strategies for demonstrating this dimension may include:

  • helping students bridge the gap between their current conceptual understanding and the next "level"

  • helping students become aware of what the next levels are
  • encouraging students to become self-directed learners by using the "lecture"/presentation as the stimulus for individual study/learning
  • challenging students intellectually e. g. by extending them with question/answer/discussion components where students' conclusions must be justified to the teacher and peers. This usually involves questions such as "What do you think is going on"; "Why"; "What if...?" etc.
  • encouraging students to internalise or "construct " their individual conceptual understanding (ultimately the learner must be responsible for his/her own learning)
  • encouraging deep (intrinsic) rather than surface (extrinsic) approaches to learning
  • working cooperatively with students to help them enhance understanding
  • clearly demonstrating a thorough command of the subject matter

Adapted from: Crisp, G. et al (2009) Peer Review of Teaching for Promotion Purposes: a project to develop and implement a pilot program of external Peer Review of Teaching at four Australian universities, University of Adelaide, an ALTC-funded project, 2007-8. Final Project Report June 2009. Thanks to RMIT and UNSW.

The nine Dimensions of Teaching are the key focus areas that underpin the main elements in the Peer Review of Teaching Practice templates used at CSU for both formative teaching development or to evidence your teaching in, for example, your promotion application.

(See Peer Review of Educational Practice at CSU).

Teaching support resources at CSU

You have access to a range of quality CSU resources to help you encourage students to enhance their conceptual understanding. Check out the following:

Teaching at CSU - the Division of Learning and Teaching website with links to resources for Teaching Staff, Online Learning, Assessment, Curriculum, Indigenous Curriculum, Workplace Learning, Technologies, Feedback and Analytics, and Learning Spaces.

Resources for Learning and Teaching Academic and Professional Staff - searchable CSU database

Learning Technologies - the starting point for a range of learning design options

CSU Learning Exchange: Technologies in Context - a searchable database to promote online learning and teaching strategies

The CSU wiki - a faculty-based source of learning and teaching information and strategies

Regular seminars on teaching-related topics are listed on the

CSU Professional Learning Calendar - accessed directly here

or from the Division of Learning and Teaching front page - accessed here

CSU Professional Learning Calendar: Let's get Personal about Learning.

Adobe Connect session 31 May 2018 at 1:00 pm

Bonus CSU resource - Lynda.com for Deep Learning

All CSU students and staff members have access to Lynda.com, an online subscription library that teaches the latest business, creative and software skills through high-quality instructional videos.

A search for 'deep learning' with a filter for Higher Education returned a smorgasbord of choice ranging from general teaching tips, to keynote lectures, to the specifics of various tools and applications for building deep learning.

One of these is Core Strategies for Teaching in Higher Ed, by Professor Karl Kapp, two hours in total of Beginner skill level short videos on a range of higher education teaching strategies.


Magna Commons

All staff with a CSU email address have free access to our new

CSU subscription to the Magna Commons series of online seminars

Presentation handouts, full transcripts and supplementary resources are available for download if you don't have time to listen to the seminar.

How to subscribe

Staff with a CSU email address can obtain the Magna Commons CSU subscription code from Ellen McIntyre elmcintyre@csu.edu.au

Magna Commons suggests these seminars to watch in the coming month:

Whether creating a single lecture, a course (= CSU subject), a program (= CSU course), or a curriculum, this month’s focus is designing effective and meaningful educational experiences. Below are some seminars related to success:

- Practical Strategies to Improve Student Retention in Online Classes

- Dealing with Student Behaviors that Compromise Learning

Links to previous bulletins

Folder with all previous issues.

Issue#1 Group Work: Seven Strategies to Enhance Learning through Group Work

Issue#2 Engagement: 10 Ways to Engage Your Students on the First Day of Class
Issue#3 Engagement: Motivate, Engage, and Inspire: Tips for Teaching Modern Learners

Issue#4 Academic Integrity: Why Students Cheat and What We Can Do About It

Issue#5 Feedback: Efficient and Effective Feedback in the Online Classroom

Issue#6 Feedback: Leveraging Technology to Support Effective Assessment Feedback Practices

Issue#7 Active Engagement: Three Strategies for Creating Meaningful Learning Experiences

Issue#8 Building on Prior Learning: How the Brain Learns: Implications for Teaching & Learning

Issue#9 Student Diversity: Using Brief Interventions to Maximize Student Learning

Issue#10 Learning Outcomes: Should I share my learning outcomes with my students?

FoBJBS Newsletter: BOLD Issue#15

FoA&E Newsletter: NeXus Issue#2


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