Guides

The Taylor Institute offers resources that summarize, synthesize, and clearly present evidence-based ways of better understanding and improving student learning, and the teaching approaches and practices that facilitate that learning.

NEW! The University of Calgary Teaching Academy presents The Mentorship Guide for Teaching and Learning. Rooted in evidence, this guide will provide you with a unique perspective on supporting mentoring relationships for teaching and learning development. Learn more

Taylor Institute Guides


Threshold Concepts

By Sarah Kent 

Threshold concepts are "core ideas that are conceptually challenging for students, who struggle to grasp it—but once grasped, it radically transforms the their perception of the subject. Although this material is difficult to learn, understanding threshold concepts is essential to the mastery of any field of study." 

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Cognitive Development

By Galicia Blackman

The more we know about how our students think about knowledge (what it is and who has it), the better equipped we are to help them learn, to recognize where and why they struggle, and to identify ways of helping them move through struggle toward greater understanding.  This is the fundamental idea of the research on students' cognitive development.

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Guiding Principles for Assessment of Students' Learning

By Gabrielle Lindstrom, Lynn Taylor, Ashley Weleschuk

Effective assessment of student learning is one of the most important components of postsecondary education. Assessment is one of the biggest motivating factors for student learning. The following TI guide builds upon an extensive literature review to present 19 research-informed principles for guiding assessment of student learning in diverse postsecondary contexts.

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Graduate Student Teaching Development

By Rachel Braun, Jaclyn Carter, Isabelle Groenhof

The Graduate Student Teaching Development Guide is designed to empower TAs to engage in their role in ways that enhance their teaching and learning capacities, and promote student learning. Each chapter provides practical information and strategies to use in real-time, and reflection prompts when considering how to best translate these elements into the classroom. 

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Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education

By Helen La, Patti Dyjur, Haboun Bair

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that guides the design of courses and learning environments to appeal to the largest number of learners. This guide outlines the principles of UDL and provides examples of how it could be implemented in university courses.

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Student Mental Health and Wellbeing: Supportive Teaching and Learning Practices

By Meadow Schroeder, Alyssa West 

What specific teaching and learning practices support student health and well-being? This guide is an annotated bibliography, exploring articles that address this question. Results have been categorized according to three themes: Implementing empirically supported interventions into the classroom and/or curriculum that support student health and well-being; adapting the pedagogical approach to support student health and well-being; and supporting student health and well-being by promoting faculty understanding and knowledge of mental health.

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Focus on Formative Feedback for Teaching Development

By Cheryl Jeffs, Ykje Piera

Formative Feedback for Teaching Development is a comprehensive guide for instructors to receive feedback about their teaching with the goal of better understanding and improving student learning. The 28 page guide contains strategies, examples, resources, and references, with practical materials that are ready to use, and/or adapt. 

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Teaching Squares: Observe and Reflect on Teaching and Learning

By Carol Berenson

Peer observation of teaching programs are becoming increasingly popular in the postsecondary environment as they provide unique and valuable opportunities to learn from colleagues and to enhance one’s own teaching.  This guide outlines the Teaching Squares philosophy and method for peer observation of teaching and learning.  Practical directions and tools to guide square participants through the components of the Teaching Squares process are included in the document. The guide can be used or adapted to implement a teaching square with peers in your context.  

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Enhancing Critical Thinking through Class Discussion: A Guide for using Discussion-Based Pedagogy

By Robin Mueller, Candace Lind, Graham McCaffrey, Carol Ewashen

Discussion-based approaches to teaching and learning are those that rely predominantly on dialogue and discourse rather than didactic transmission of information.  This guide discusses the theoretical foundations of discussion-based pedagogy, and offers user templates for three specific discussion-based strategies that can be adapted for higher education classrooms across disciplines. 

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The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

SoTL is inquiry to understand or improve student learning in higher education and the teaching approaches and practices that affect student learning. SoTL is informed by relevant research on teaching and learning, and conducted by members of educational community from across campus who from their disciplinary expertise by gathering and analyzing relevant evidence from the learners in their own specific contexts. As scholarship, SoTL is then shared broadly to contribute to knowledge & practices in teaching and learning.

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Ethics in The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

By Lisa Fedoruk

This guide takes researchers through the essentials of the Canadian standards for ethical practice in the scholarship of teaching and learning. 

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Teaching Philosophies and Teaching Dossiers Guide

By Natasha Kenny, Carol Berenson, Cheryl Jeffs, Lorelli Nowell, Kimberley Grant 

This guide is a comprehensive resource for creating a teaching dossier that presents an integrated summary of your teaching philosophy, approaches, accomplishments, and effectiveness.

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Online Assessment in Higher Education

By Ashley Weleschuk, Patti Dyjur, Patrick Kelly

As online academic programs become more common in higher education, more instructors must design their courses and student assessments for the online environment. When designing online assessments common considerations such as aligning assessments with course learning outcomes, providing clear criteria for students, and protecting academic integrity need to be made. However, there are additional and unique factors to consider for the online environment, such as using technology effectively and addressing any student concerns. Through a combination of research and practice, this guide is a resource for instructors to help plan, design, and implement student assessments in fully online courses.

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