WisCEL serves as a campus model for change by reinventing the use of campus infrastructure in ways that reconsider where and how teaching and learning occur, integrating the latest instructional technology, nurturing exploration and implementation of new teaching models, and creating high-quality learning experiences for students campus-wide.

WisCEL performs an incubator role by providing space, resources, support and opportunity for instructors to experiment with instructional technology and implement new and innovative teaching models, such as blended learning and active-learning.

WisCEL supports a wide variety of instructional practices, course designs and technology integration, under four main types of innovative instructional models:

Active Learning

Emphasizes in-class strategies of collaboration, discussion, group work, instructor-student interaction, problem-solving and self-paced individual learning. In these classes, use of technology was present, but de-emphasized in relationship to the active learning activities.

Blended Learning

Features pedagogical strategies that deliver course content both through instructional technology and traditional demonstration or lecture, and in-class learning that involves active learning activities and collaboration.

Flipped Instruction

Instructional design reconfigures or inverses in-class and out-of-class learning by emphasizing content delivery outside class (on-line, rather than through lecture)and active learning strategies in-class (i.e., small group work, problem solving, critical thinking and discussion) and delivering content outside of class time. For example, flipped instructional models in WisCEL often use web-based content (e.g., instructor-produced video lecturettes) and course management software such as Moodle to introduce basic concepts prior to class, and place the focus in-class on the application of content and concepts to real world problems or questions.

Hybrid Course Structure

Course structure alternates class meeting locations between traditional (lecture) and WisCEL (active learning). This model affords larger classes (100+ students) the option to provide students with a regular active learning experience while allowing the instructor to maximize content delivery through lecturing to a large class size.

Best Practices

WisCEL supports instructors in exploring and implementing innovative instruction. In collaboration with WisCEL instructors, WisCEL has identified the following “best practices” for active learning:

  • Minimize lecturing
  • Create short and focused video lectures
  • Provide frequent and immediate feedback
  • Emphasize mastery learning
  • Schedule longer class periods (75 minutes +)
  • Integrate small group collaboration and problem-solving
  • Increase instructor/student interaction
  • Optimize the instructor-to-student ratio (1/25 is ideal)
  • Make strategic and creative use of TA assistance
  • Employ coaching and questioning strategies
  • Incorporate individual and group incentives for task completion