Tools and Resources

List Tools by Title

Browse through the tools by the title of the resource.


Decoding the Disciplines is a process for increasing student learning by narrowing the gap between expert and novice thinking. Beginning with the identification of bottlenecks to learning in particular disciplines, it seeks to make explicit the tacit knowledge of experts and to help students master the mental actions they need for success in particular courses. Bottlenecks key areas where students get stuck or where students can't progress in their learning. Experts who they are very familiar with the discipline sometimes have a hard time helping novices through these difficult passageways. This process provides teaching strategies that help faculty experts help their novice students to think in disciplinary ways.

This definition was prepared by the Teaching Excellence Committee, Teaching and Learning Consortium, Penn State in 2005.

Three-page overview of the steps in documenting one's teaching through a portfolio.

This is a short article written by Chris Gamrat, Penn State faculty member in IST, about Inclusive Teaching and Course Design. It appeared in Educause Review on February 6, 2020. Faculty and instructional designers can employ a number of strategies to create courses and learning environments where students feel welcome and connected. Determining how best to incorporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) into course design and teaching can feel overwhelming. Gamrat created a list of considerations for instructional designers and faculty to help create courses for a spectrum of students who are, or become, minoritized or marginalized at our instituions and in our online courses. I hope that these recommendations and examples offer faculty and instructional designers a new perspective on student needs and strategies for creating a caring learning environment.

A handout that describes problem-based learning and provides an overview of the instructional steps.

This is a link to an online article that describes rubrics generally and also differentiates between holistic and analytic rubrics. Templates of each type are provided.

Tips for instructors who are designing writing assignments. Includes useful information about careful wording of prompts, optimal level of specificity vs. open-endedness, and decisions about graded/ungraded assignments.

This file is a brief overview of how to develop a rubric, which can be useful for grading essays or other student projects. Rubrics make grading easier and more consistent as well as provide information to students that helps them do well on the assignment.

Abstract: Writing multiple-choice test items to measure student learning in higher education is a challenge. Based on extensive scholarly research and experience, the author describes various item formats, offers guidelines for creating these items, and provides many examples of both good and bad test items. He also suggests some shortcuts for developing test items. All of this advice is based on extensive scholarly research and experience. Creating valid multiple-choice items is a difficult task, but it contributes greatly to the teaching and learning process for undergraduate, graduate, and professional-school courses.

Author: Thomas M. Haladyna, Arizona State University

Keywords: Multiple-choice items, selected response, test-item formats, examinations

For most teachers, leading classroom discussion on difficult topics is a perennial challenge. Part of the challenge lies in the fact that we never fully know which issues will be “hot buttons” for our students. Conversations can become heated very quickly, and before long, it can feel like the class is careening out of control. This guide seeks to help teachers feel more confident leading difficult dialogues by encouraging reflection on how such discussions connect with larger learning goals, and by providing specific strategies and resources that teachers can use to create more productive conversations in their classrooms.

This PowerPoint presents a research project by Peter M. Eberle and Anthony J. Hoos in that includes data collected by asking students about their perceptions of using digital textbooks, such as iPads and e-readers, for their course reading.

This document provides examples of measures that are classified as direct or indirect evidence. It provides a list of appropriate direct or indirect measures of student learning which can be used in the process of program assessment.

This diversity case study was designed to help faculty think about and discuss how best to address a classroom that includes students from diverse backgrounds. This document is most useful for faculty developers.

This case study involves a female professor and her response to a female student who has been teased by males (who are the majority of the class). This document is most useful for faculty developers.

This document is a case study that can be used to spark workshop discussion among instructors about issues related to race and ethnicity in the classroom. This case study would be most useful for faculty developers.

This is a case study written to help faculty members think about and discuss issues related to students making inappropriate comments in class.

This case involves an elderly returning adult student who behaves in a way that makes the faculty member uncomfortable. This document is most useful for faculty developers.

This document provides suggestions for holding diversity workshops for faculty. These workshops are designed to include diversity case studies. This document is most useful for faculty developers.

A SharePoint site for Penn State employees and students that contains curated research and other resources on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) topics, including antiracism, intersectionality, implicit bias and microagressions; equity-minded teaching and assessment; and rights, responsibilities, and responses related to bias and free expression in our classrooms and work spaces.

The Dynamics Concept Inventory is a multiple-choice exam with 29 questions. It covers 11 concept areas in rigid body dynamics and several more in particle dynamics. This is one of many concept tests designed to assess student's knowledge of particular scientific concepts.