by Liz Evans
A new book, Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes, by F. Darby and J. Lang (Wiley 2019) caught my eye last June, initially via this IHE author interview. The timing of this discovery was perfect for me, since I was helping to support LACOL’s first fully online summer data science class. So many nuggets from this book prove to be right on target for LACOL’s various pedogogical explorations, I choose it as something to share with my awesome colleagues on the Haverford College Instructional Technology team as part of their summer 2019 Learn and Share discussion group. This short review highlights some of the authors’ ideas I found most thought provoking and potentially useful to anyone teaching in the classroom, online … or both!
Many faculty and designers may be familiar already with the phrase “small teaching” which was made famous in Prof. James Lang’s 2016 book, Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons From the Science of Learning. In a nutshell, Lang demonstrates how small, easily-managed teaching modifications – based on the neuroscience of how people learn – can have a positive impact for students. That is, small adjustments can make good teaching great.
Online professor and instructional designer Flower Darby worked with Lang to bring the small teaching concept into the online realm. The opportunities for discovery are rich because, as Darby notes, online learning is in its infancy.
The book recommendation is excellent – a lot of useful suggestions which would take years to figure out.
-Dr. Natalia Toporikova, Professor of Biology at Washington and Lee University; online instructor, summer 2019