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Faculty Senate

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Active Learning Classrooms

Active Learning Classroom
Stuart Marrs, Associate Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education

We have an exciting opportunity to join a growing list of universities embracing new instructional modalities tailored to 21st century demands. Corporate America is asking for college graduates who can work in teams, are adept at problem solving, and possess the critical thinking abilities to quickly adapt to a rapidly changing business and industry environment. Active Learning Classrooms (ALC) contrast with the traditionally passive theater‐style lecture by engaging students via inquiry‐based learning in small groups (teams) that remain together throughout the semester. Groups are seated at round tables equipped with several computers each, and wired to enable display sharing within the group or to the entire class of ~80. Faculty and TAs interact with each group individually during a class session. The groups engage in activities that one proponent terms: tangibles, ponderables, labs, and group problem‐ solving. Lecture material can be delivered either during the class in response to the immediate work, or via podcast prior to the class. Team‐work helps students engage in problem‐solving and critical thinking as well as reflect on issues of diversity. Studies have shown that attendance and learning outcomes are dramatically improved in the ALC setting not only for science and technology, but for the humanities as well.

For more detailed information about this innovative pedagogy, visit which has videos and more. If you join the group you will have access to:

Classroom Designs and Management

   • Room Design
   • Cost Estimates
   • Name Tags
   • Screen Sharing
   • Tips and Tricks

Collaborative Learning

   • Felder’s Resources in Science & Engineering Education
   • Setting up Groups
   • Group Roles
   • What to Tell Students

Miscellaneous Instructional Materials

   • GOAL Problem Solving Protocol
   • Brainstorming Rules Content‐Specific Instructional Materials
   • The SCALE‐UP Physics Library Project (under development)
   • Physics Materials from NC State
   • Spiral Physics (modeling) Materials from Monroe Community College
   • Chemistry Materials from NC State
   • Chemistry Materials from U Michigan
   • Teaching literature at Clemson
   • Introductory Biology for Majors at University of Minnesota

Miscellaneous Resources

   • Frequently asked questions
   • University of Minnesota Active Learning Classroom (ALC) Pilot Evaluation
   • “Don’t Lecture Me,” is a radio documentary on not lecturing in college.
   • “Studio Classrooms” by Thomas DeLoughry, Chronicle of Higher Education
   • “The Tough Road to Better Science Teaching” by Jeffrey Brainard, Chronicle of       Higher Education with accompanying “Online Chat” by Bob Beichner


Contact Information

Faculty Senate
Kimberly Junkins, Faculty Senate Office
205 East Annex, Orono, Maine 04469
Phone: (207) 581-1167 | Fax: (207) 581-2640E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469