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Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors 3rd Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470401040
ISBN-10: 0470401044
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Teaching at Its Best

This third edition of the best-selling handbook offers faculty at all levels an essential toolbox of hundreds of practical teaching techniques, formats, classroom activities, and exercises, all of which can be implemented immediately. This thoroughly revised edition includes the newest portrait of the Millennial student; current research from cognitive psychology; a focus on outcomes maps; the latest legal options on copyright issues; and how to best use new technology including wikis, blogs, podcasts, vodcasts, and clickers. Entirely new chapters include subjects such as matching teaching methods with learning outcomes, inquiry-guided learning, and using visuals to teach, and new sections address Felder and Silverman's Index of Learning Styles, SCALE-UP classrooms, multiple true-false test items, and much more.

Praise for the Third Edition of Teaching at Its BestEveryone--veterans as well as novices--will profit from reading Teaching at Its Best, for it provides both theory and practical suggestions for handling all of the problems one encounters in teaching classes varying in size, ability, and motivation."--Wilbert McKeachie, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, and coauthor, McKeachie's Teaching TipsThis new edition of Dr. Nilson's book, with its completely updated material and several new topics, is an even more powerful collection of ideas and tools than the last. What a great resource, especially for beginning teachers but also for us veterans!"--L. Dee Fink, author, Creating Significant Learning ExperiencesThis third edition of Teaching at Its Best is successful at weaving the latest research on teaching and learning into what was already a thorough exploration of each topic. New information on how we learn, how students develop, and innovations in instructional strategies complement the solid foundation established in the first two editions."--Marilla D. Svinicki, Department of Psychology, The University of Texas, Austin, and coauthor, McKeachie's Teaching Tips

About the Author

The Author

Linda B. Nilson is the founding director of the Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation at Clemson University. She is the author of The Graphic Syllabus and the Outcomes Map: Communicating Your Course from Jossey-Bass.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 3 edition (May 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470401044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470401040
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.8 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been avidly reading this book in preparation for the fall semester, and was prepared to give it 5 stars until I reached pg. 225. Here, the author states "Given that the social sciences rely on flawed data and analyses and ideologically shaded theories, the standards for evidence are more relaxed than they are in the physical and biological sciences." Everything else is the book is backed up by peer-reviewed references, but this is purely the opinion of the author (no citations). Before the quote stated above, she says that social scientists rarely do experimental research, our research is invalid or unreliable, and our statistical methods inaccurate. Normally I would just pass this off as ignorance and move on, but this book is meant to educate faculty, and furthering this stigma of psychology (or other social sciences) as not being "real science" only further divides the scientific community. Informing students that they "must learn to view their own research results results as probabilistic, tentative, and subject to debate" is demoralizing, and a bit hypocritical - are not all research results, even in the physical and biological sciences, also tentative and open to debate? Even the Theory of Relativity is still a theory...

Other than this clearly biased section of the book, it does contain several helpful ideas for teaching. Many can also be found online, but there are a few new things I had never before considered, and it is nice to have the research to back it up (research collected by social scientists, I might add - does that mean these sources are flawed?) The sections on group learning and writing assignments were especially helpful in my planning. I would definitely recommend it, but be aware that if you are in the field of social sciences, you may feel frustrated by some of the inferences throughout the book, especially in the section mentioned above.
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Format: Paperback
Dr. Linda B. Nilson has spent a good part of her professional career in higher education speaking, writing, and teaching about how to be an effective college instructor. Her latest contribution to that effort, Teaching at its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors, 2nd Edition, may be the most comprehensive work to date on the subject.

This is a "real world" book about teaching at the college level. Written in a comfortable 2nd person style, it takes a would-be instructor through all the steps from preparing to teach to evaluating how effective the instruction has been. The discussion on understanding different learning styles and using appropriate teaching strategies to reach diverse learners is straight forward and easy to understand.

In her preface to the book, Nilson says that "Like the first edition, this revision is designed primarily for use in colleges and universities with high standards of instructional excellence". Believe it - and don't teach without it!
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Format: Paperback
Linda has done an excellent job of compiling and explaining some of the best available techniques for teaching and survival as a professor in the modern university environment. The text is highly readable and extremely practical. I have taught for 24 years in a variety of colleges and each time I open the book I find something new to try.
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This is a pretty all-inclusive text, which is a huge plus, but some chapters seem to have been included for breadth without giving much useful information. As an example, the chapter on assessments just lists types of exams and questions without any discussion really of how to design or incorporate assessments. Also, the references to the 'millennials' distracted from the text as being borderline offensive. So why 3 stars? There is a lot of good information on designing syllabus, and preparing for managing a classroom, I just would not recommend this as your only text.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I manage 70 instructors at a junior college and have seen dozens of how-to teach tomes over the years. This covers everything from the first day of class to the last. Organized in digestible bites, it is practical and not preachy. The author included hundreds of references and relevant reasearch. If you teach older teens or adults, get this before the first day of class even if you have years of experience. We purchased dozens of copies for our instructors.
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My father was a college professor; I am not, although I have an adjunct relationship with Princeton University. I do have occasion to teach theoretical physics, systems engineering, mechanical engineering, operations research, and parliamentary procedure in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Prof. Nilson's book is perfect for these tasks, and this is probably the only book which is superior to McKeachie's Teaching Tips, a book I also read recently. There are six parts to the work: 1) Laying the Groundwork for Student Learning, 2) Managing Your Courses, 3) Choosing and Using the Right Tools for Teaching and Learning, 4) More Tools: Teaching Real-World Problem Solving, 5) Making Learning Easier, and 6) Assessing Learning Outcomes. There is one appendix, a detailed list of references, and a fine index. Just to give a sense of what is covered, let me mention what's on certain pages: pp. 106-197, teaching methods; p. 139, Bloom's questions; p. 177, modes of inquiry; p. 196, steps in quantitative problem solving; p. 257 and pp. 262-263, software; p. 269, e-learning; p. 298, key test items; p. 308, grading rubric, and p. 310, writing handbooks. I looked for typos but didn't find any; the only mistake is on p. 244, where she defines pressure as force per unit volume, whereas it actually is force per unit area. One mistake in 375 pages is certainly tolerable! I highly recommend this book to all college professors and all trainers in industry.
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