Skip to Main Content

Apply Now to the University of Wyoming apply now

Faculty Resources

Teaching Guides

Helpful Tools

Find a variety of materials here to help with course development, assignments and activities, teaching diverse populations, and more. These materials are aimed primarily at lower-division courses but reach all levels.

What Students Won't Expect: Transitioning into First-Year Coursework

It's fairly common for instructors planning first-year courses to inadvertently imagine their students as possessing characteristics of older students- envisioning the incoming students as showing the thinking skills of twenty-year-olds. While it's true that eighteen-year-olds are capable of great things, significant growth happens between the ages of eighteen and twenty. By anticipating some of the biggest transition challenges, instructors can create effective bridges for first-year students. Teaching Tips and Guides- Transitions (document) What Students Don't Expect (PowerPoint)

Why College: Helping Students Imagine More Than a Job

During June Orientation 2009, LeaRN surveyed 1,076 incoming UW students about their expectations for college. In response to the open-ended question, "Why are you pursuing a college degree?" 72% named job or financial reasons-and most listed only these as motivations for attending college.

There's no question that career interests have long been a major factor in the motivation to attend college. But, to what extent has the economic downturn (as well as cultural shifts toward professional or "product" outcomes for college) served to shrink the development of intrinsic goals? Teaching Tips and Guides- More than a Job.

Supporting Academic Honesty in Lower-Division Courses

At the beginning of a semester, students have the best of intentions about their courses. They aren't planning to take major shortcuts that involve plagiarism on papers or cheating on exams. By the end of a semester, however, some instructors report being discouraged by problems with plagiarism. Why do students stray from their good intentions? What can instructors do to help students maintain high ethical standards in their work? 

Supporting Academic Honesty in Lower-Division Courses

Is it Plagiarism? Case Studies

Creating Assignments That Discourage Plagiarism

Using Peer Review Effectively

A student who is reviewing a fellow student's paper writes the following as the only comment: "It looks good. I like the examples."

Sound familiar? In a national survey of 560 teachers of writing and 715 of their students, Sarah W. Freedman found that many teachers were discouraged with peer review because they had difficulty getting students to respond effectively to one another's writing.

The students also complained about the writing responses, saying that their peers' comments were too vague and unconstructive. The result is that students and teachers move away from peer review, an unfortunate outcome because the potential benefits of peer review can positively impact student learning. Teaching Tips and Guides- Peer Review.

Teaching the Craft of Note-Taking

Strong note-taking is often a hidden skill in the first and second year of college, one that even advanced students struggle to master in different courses. This session will focus on practical strategies for teaching effective note-taking, including conceptual listening skills and question-based notes. 

Note-taking Tips for Students

Reading Notes Template

This template was designed by Rick Fisher (English department) with Kaijsa Calkins (UW Libraries), teaching an [I,L] course to freshmen fall of 2010.  Students would fill out the form while reading, take it to class with them and add notes to it during the class discussion, and use it to study from for the exam.  If you have questions about the form, please contact Rick Fisher ( or Kaijsa Calkins (

Teaching the Craft of Note-Taking (presentation)

Approaching Controversial Issues in Classroom Discussion

Many instructors’ first reaction to “hot” moments in classroom discussion is extreme discomfort. The prospect of mediating controversial issues, aggressive speakers, or escalating emotions among students can lead teachers to avoid (or try to divert) charged discussions. However, hot moments in-class discussion offer prime teachable moments. Join us to consider several strategies for setting up ground rules at the beginning of the semester as well as important tips for handling sensitive conversations in class. 

Approaching Controversial Issues in Class Discussion (.pptx)

When Discussion Falters: A Checklist (.docx)

Ground Rules in Online Discussions: Help or Hindrance? by Kari Morgan (.pdf)

Improving Classroom Discussion

Include a rationale for class discussion on the syllabus-highlight the idea students share responsibility for "making meaning" in the class.

Avoid the creation of a "pecking order" of student voices by using round-table techniques in the first week of class. At the beginning of class, pose one or two compelling questions or statements and ask every student to briefly respond or "pass" (this is most effective when students are not seated in linear rows).

Facilitating Strong Classroom Discussion (pptx)

Strategies fro Effective Class Discussion (doc)

Moving Beyond the Buzzword: Teaching Students About Critical Thinking

In recent texts exploring critical thinking at the college level, some scholars have suggested that "critical thinking" is better approached and defined as a disciplinary outcome (Beyer et. al). This argument suggests that generic definitions of critical thinking ignore the weighty influence of context in forming pedagogical goals. Does attempting to articulate shared higher level thinking goals across disciplines continue to hold value?  How do faculty from different disciplines at UW describe and infuse critical thinking into their courses? Teaching Tips and Guides- Critical Thinking.

Approaching Difficult Students

Teachers who encounter difficulties with one or more students in a class often report that they had an inkling of conflict very early in the semester. However, teachers generally take action only when the situation has escalated, often beyond help. Like most relationships, inspiring civility in challenging classroom situations is best encouraged through laying early groundwork.

Approaching Difficult Students PowerPoint (.pdf)

Student Code of Conduct (from Dean of Students office) (.pdf)

Regarding disturbing or disruptive student behavior (.pdf)

Responding to Disruptive People (.pdf)

Autism Spectrum (Asperger's) In and Out of the Classroom

At many colleges and universities, the number of students with Asperger's Disorder continues to increase. While these students have the intellectual abilities to be successful, they struggle with understanding social cues and comprehending unwritten rules and procedures. They may be teased or laughed at by other students. As a result, these students pose unique challenges to faculty members, administrators and other students during their college careers. Working successfully with Asperger's students requires an understanding of their behavior and knowledge of how to communicate with them. In this program, Brian Van Brunt, Ed.D., will offer recommendations for helping these students to succeed.  PowerPoint Presentation Handout (Strategies)  Handout (Background)

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
UW Operators (307) 766-1121 | Contact Us | Download Adobe Reader

Accreditation | Virtual Tour | Emergency Preparedness | Employment at UW | Privacy Policy | Harassment & Discrimination | Accessibility Accessibility information icon