Undergrad Learning and Teaching and the Engaged University
Welcome to Miami University! We here at the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) endorse learning centered teaching and engaged learning. What does that mean for you, and how does this kind of teaching-learning benefit YOU, the student?
What is learning-centered teaching?
Terry Doyle offers this definition “Learner centered teaching means subjecting every teaching activity (method, assignment or assessment) to the test of a single question: “Given the context of my students, course and classroom, will this teaching action optimize my students’ opportunity to learn?”
How is learning-centered teaching different from what students may be used to?
- In a teacher-centered classroom, students take a passive role, teachers are seen as the only source of knowledge and tests are used to find out what the student has already learned.
- In a learning-centered classroom, students take a more active role, teachers and students learn from each other, and students learn about the subject and about their progress in learning the subject by frequent assignments.
Why is learner centered teaching beneficial for students?
First, it is based on research on how the brain works and how memory works. The deep learning that you do now enables you to learn more later. For more, read Applying the Science of Learning.
Second, doing the work of a learning-centered classroom will help you develop the skills that employers want in today’s global economy and the self-awareness and self-management skills to help you be successful in all aspects of life. For more about learning for the 21st century and what employers want, see the AAC&U’s webpage for students.
Third, it allows YOU to take charge of your learning. Read a student’s own personal story of how learner centered teaching empowered her (previously published in the Center for Teaching and Learning Newsletter, permission granted for use here).
How does MU promote engaged learning?
Please view our Public Service Announcement that illustrates that transformative “Aha” moment that Miami students experience when a professor says something that opens the mind to incredible ideas. View the 30-second and 60-second PSAs online. (Note, PSAs may take a few moments to load.)
- Just a few more examples:
- Center for Psychological Inquiry
- Creativity + Learning: Multiple Frameworks for the Engaged University (video)
- International Education
- Independent Study and Research
- Miami Univeristy students meet Global Game Jam Goal (PDF)
- MI CUP OF TEA
- Office of Community Engagement and Service
- Opening Minds Through Art
- Residential Curriculum
- Service Learning on Middletown Campus (PDF)
- Social Action Center
- Startup Weekend MU
- Student Research: College of Arts & Sciences
- Top 25 Project
- Top 25 video podcasts
- Undergraduate Associate Program
What can students do to take advantage of this kind of teaching?
Learning to Learn (PDF) Karl R. Wirth, Macalester College, and Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota.
Miami Alum Russ Starkey talks about how he discovered the value of completing Miami's general education requirements: "Why Am I Taking This Stuff?" (Video)
What is assessment and why should students care about it?
Assessment is a way to learn about the experiences of students. Assessment is a way to understand how your college years relate to your future. Find out more on our Student Assessment Page.
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If you are interested in receiving email announcements about CTE seminars and workshops, please click here to add your email address to the CTE listserv.
For more resources
- AAC&U LEAP for Students, for information on the transition between high school and college, visit
- All School Guide, Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Better Student
- Southern Methodist University, How is college different from High School
- Learning Strategies to Help Guide Your Studing, provided by University of Washington (PDF)
- Poster Sessions, provided by Colorado State University
- Travel, provided by Cortland State University
- Writing Lab Reports, provided by NC State University
- Avoiding plagiarism, Miami Libraries