TILE Instructor writing on a white board


in–ten –tion–al: done on purpose; deliberate

An ongoing theme from TILE Labs: Essentials is the importance of being intentional in your course. From the design of your learning objectives and the development of each activity to how are you incorporating the classroom technology, it is crucial to intentionally design an engaging active learning environment.

This month we wanted to share some TILE tips and tricks to help you purposely and efficiently help your students learn, interact, and engage from the very beginning of the semester.

Talk with your students about the TILE classroom - Don’t expect students to be familiar with the space, the technologies, or with active learning principles – for many students this will be their first experience with each. Early in the semester think about having a conversation with your students about how the physical space and the available technologies impacts classroom activities and expectations. You might start by simply asking your students what they think is intriguing or different in the TILE room compared to a general assignment classroom or a lecture hall.

Clearly share & connect learning objectives – Research conducted at the University of Iowa has continued to suggest students respond positively when they see and understand the connections between course design and classroom technology (Van Horne, et al. 2012). Essentially, students need to understand how learning objectives and technology used for the course are clearly and intentionally integrated through in-class activities.

Take advantage of the space – You don’t have to use all the technology all of the time to make the TILE space work for you and your class, but early in the semester you can take advantage of the room’s collaborative aspects to model how students should interact in teams and as peer instructors.  To encourage students to start work as soon as they enter the space, don’t wait until everyone is in the room to begin your activities. Have an activity for students to begin as soon as they enter the room. Encourage students to take advantage of TILE’s more basic technologies, such as the whiteboards and round tables, in addition to the more complex technologies, like the computers and flatscreens.

Set precedents early – Your students are likely to encounter a very different experience in a TILE classroom than they are used to in more traditional classrooms. Help your students succeed in TILE by modeling your classroom expectations early in the semester. For example, if you want students to use the table microphones (available in some of the larger TILE classrooms) when they address the whole class, demonstrate how to use the microphones and remind them to use the mics until it becomes habit. If you want students to utilize roles during small group activities, post the roles and expectations on the projectors or flatscreens until students no longer need the reminder.

We hope your semester is off to a wonderful start. Keep an eye out for upcoming trainings and refreshers throughout the Fall 2013 semester.

Additional resources for teaching in a TILE room:

Center for Teaching Website – Check out the newly redesigned site

TILE resources page