Center for Teaching & Learning Peer Supporter 2020-21 Showcase

You are invited! Friday, May 21, 9:00-9:50 am.

Join the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) in our Peer Supporter Showcase. During the 2020-21 academic year, the Office of Undergraduate Education with funding from the Provost, established the Peer Teaching Resources & Support Program coordinated by the CTL. Peer Supporters in colleges across the campus provided pedagogical professional development, resources and support to instructional faculty in remote and blended teaching. In this year-end gathering, the CTL is proud to highlight the success of this pilot program. Join us for this celebration of how OSU Kept Teaching. Welcome by Vice Provost Alix Gitelman.

Register now! Friday, May 21, 2021. 9:00 -9:50 am

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Self-Regulation in College

About the Author: Amara Bradetich is a graduate student in the School of Public Health and Human Services at Oregon State University. Studying in the Human Development and Family Science area, her research focuses on how maternal stress during pregnancy affects child self-regulation and sensory processing in early childhood. This post is part of our series of Research Advancing Pedagogy (RAP) blogs, designed to share pedagogical research from across the disciplines in a pragmatic format. 

Taking a deep breath before an exam, focusing while writing a paper, and staying home to study instead of hanging out with friends are all examples of regulatory skills being put to use by college students. Unknown to most undergraduates, the ability to inhibit their impulses, calm their emotions, and sustain attention on a single task are vital to their academic success. These self-regulation skills, also known as executive functions, begin developing in childhood and influence the learning and development of all people (McClelland et al., 2014). This was the focus of Travis and Bunde’s (2020) article. They explored the relationship between self-efficacy, satisfaction of basic needs, and stress on college students’ GPAs, persistence, and satisfaction with school.

What did they do? Travis and Bunde (2020) surveyed 383 undergraduate students from each university department at a public university in South Carolina. The participants rated their stress level, self-confidence in their academic ability, satisfaction of basic needs, intentions to transfer, and satisfaction with education and experience at that college at two points during the fall semester. The university supplied the authors with the students’ GPAs and hours withdrawn at the end of the semester.

What did they find? The authors found support for their hypotheses, namely that the elements of self-regulation studied affect the students’ academic success in college. The big takeaways: 1) Students who reported higher self-efficacy, lower stress ratings, and higher need satisfaction had higher GPA scores, more satisfaction with school, decreased intention to transfer, and fewer hours withdrawn. 2) When students felt their needs were being met, they had greater intent to persist beyond the effects of high stress or low academic self-efficacy.

What does it mean for us? This research highlights the role of self-regulation skills in student outcomes and perceptions in college. This indicates not only the connection between self-regulation support and academic success, but the vitality of including self-regulation in educational policy and school design/research. Specifically, this study suggests that the identification and removal of certain stressors may improve academic performance and socioemotional outcomes. The findings also indicate the need to be mindful of basic human needs when creating and implementing achievable academic challenges.

Professors need to be aware of students’ experiences, stress levels, basic needs, and regulatory abilities in order to better support their learning and achievement in class. Although this may seem like a tall task, starting by simply asking students how they are doing at the beginning of each class, reaching out to students who do not attend class or turn work in late, or teaching students about good study habits are ways to open the door to supporting students’ success through regulatory skills.


McClelland, M. M., Cameron, C. E., Duncan, R., Bowles, R. P., Acock, A. C., Miao, A., & Pratt, M. (2014). Predictors of early growth in academic achievement: The head-toes-knees-shoulders task. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 599.

Travis, J., & Bunde, J. (2020). Self-regulation into college: The influence of self-efficacy, need satisfaction, and stress on GPA, persistence, and satisfaction. Current Psychology.

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Distance Learning is Hard – Here’s How to Make it Easier for Students

About the Author: Madeline Nichols is a doctoral student in the College of Public Health and Human Studies at Oregon State University. Studying in the Human Development and Family Studies program, her research broadly focuses on how older adults and adults in midlife understand, process, and regulate their emotions, and how those emotional competencies intersect with sociocultural factors, such as race or gender.

Distance Learning is Hard – Here’s How to Make it Easier for Students

COVID-19 has been rough for everyone across a number of important life domains – whether we think of our social relationships, work, or education, the pandemic has caused us to adapt to accommodate change within these key aspects of our lives (Settersten et al., 2020).  Though we’ve all experienced changes, the need for education and learning has been ongoing, and has been one of the adaptations at the forefront of debate with the shift to online learning.

With 1.3 billion students affected by school closures worldwide (UNESCO, 2020a), many experienced detriments to their psychological wellbeing in the form of increased stress and mental health concerns (UNESCO, 2020b). What can we, as educators, do to support the psychological wellbeing of our students with ongoing distance learning practices? Holzer and colleagues suggest that it might be as simple as providing individualized support and feedback, encouraging the use of daily routines to add structure to learning, and using synchronous sessions to reflect on learning and foster community.

What did they do?

Across two studies conducted in Austria and Finland, 7,724 students filled out a questionnaire assessing their competence, autonomy, social connectedness, goal setting and planning, positive emotions, and intrinsic learning motivation. These questionnaires were completed in Spring 2020 – Austrian students participated from April 7 to April 24, shortly after universities closed on March 16 and Finnish students participated from April 29 to June 2, as universities transitioned to distance learning on March 18.

What did they find?

Three of the completed assessments – competence, autonomy, and social connectedness – were deemed basic needs that should be connected to psychological wellbeing by increasing positive emotions and intrinsic learning motivation. Results indicated that both competence and social connectedness were positive predictors of positive emotions in Austria and Finland. Autonomy was a negative predictor of positive emotion for Austrian students, but a positive predictor of positive emotion for Finnish students. However, only competence had a moderate to large effect size in both samples, while autonomy and social connectedness only yielded small effects. Both competence and autonomy were shown to positively predict intrinsic learning motivation in Austria, and all three basic needs were predictors of intrinsic learning motivation in Finland. Finally, the findings regarding the effects of goal setting and planning on positive emotions and intrinsic motivation were mixed – goal setting and planning interacted with autonomy to promote positive emotion in Austria, while competence was key for this interaction in Finland.

What does this mean for us?

Though this study was completed at the beginning of the shift to distance learning, its findings are still relevant as we continue to navigate the rest of our time teaching online and in beginning to transition to in-person classes in the coming year. Promoting these basic needs in our classrooms can help support the psychological wellbeing of our students – and it only takes three easy steps. First, creating individualized learning opportunities, be that through the increased availability of instructors in office hours, or through more individualized feedback, can promote competence. Second, encouraging students to set goals for themselves and creating routines or plans for their learning equips students not only for distance learning, but also in creating good study habits in the long run. Finally, using synchronous sessions now, and promoting group work either online or in-person in the coming terms, can help increase social connectedness by fostering a learning community within the classroom, as well as providing space to reflect on successes and failures in the students’ learning efforts.

Though it may feel like the end is near, we still have a few weeks of distance learning and will have to adapt to in-person learning soon. Minimizing the negative effects on psychological wellbeing that these circumstances may have is crucial in promoting learning and fostering a positive environment for our students.


Figure 1. Structural equation model predicting positive emotion and intrinsic learning motivation (Study 1: Model 11).

Note. This structural equation model predicts positive emotion and learning motivation from basic psychological needs, with moderating effects of self-regulated learning. Statistics are standardized regression coefficients. Dotted lines represent nonsignificant relations.


Figure 2. Structural equation model predicting positive emotion and intrinsic learning motivation (Study 2: Model 12).

Note. This structural equation model predicts positive emotion and learning motivation from basic psychological needs, with moderating effects of self-regulated learning. Statistics are standardized regression coefficients. Dotted lines represent nonsignificant relations.


Holzer, J., Lüftenegger, M., Korlat, S., Pelika, E., Salmela-Aro, K., Spiel, C., & Schober, B. (2021). Higher education in times of COVID-19: University students’ basic need satisfaction, self-regulated learning, and well-being. AERA Open, 7(1), 1-13.

Settersten, R.A. Jr., Bernardi, L., Härkönen, J., Antonucci, T., Dykstra, P.A., Heckhausen, J., Kuh, D., Mayer, K.U., Moen, P., Mortimer, J.T., Mulder, C.H., Smeeding, T.M., van der Lippe, T., Hagestad, G.O., Kohli, M., Levy, R., Schoon, I., & Thomson, E. (2020). Understanding the effects of Covid-19 through a life course lens. Advances in Life Course Research, 45, 1-11.

UNESCO. (2020a). COVID-19 impact on education.

UNESCO. (2020b). Nurturing the social and emotional wellbeing of children and young people during crises. UNESCO COVID- 19 Education Response. pf0000373271

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Jump into a Summer Faculty Learning Community

Austin Hall and LINC plazaThe Summer ’21 Blended Faculty Learning Community, sponsored by CTL and Academic Technology, is designed to help you advance your teaching skills.

This small, supportive cohort will focus on applying effective practices for skillful use of educational technology and for integrating synchronous and asynchronous learning activities.

Participants will explore and develop solutions to self-identified teaching challenges. This cross-disciplinary learning community will meet via Zoom as well as interacting online in Canvas.

OSU instructors and tenured/tenure-track faculty who teach credit-based Cascades and Corvallis campus courses are eligible to apply. All levels of teaching experience and ed tech skills are welcome. Funding is provided and participants will receive a copy of Derek Bruff’s Intentional Tech.

Streamlined proposal process: See the Call for Proposals and submit your brief proposal by May 16.

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Sign up for an Engaging Learners with Instructional Media Workshop

Green GrassExplore how instructional media can enhance student learning in all teaching modalities. Discover ways to make your lecture videos more engaging and effective with in-video quizzing.

The Faculty Media Center and CTL invite all OSU teaching faculty and GTAs to attend an interactive one-hour workshop.

When: Either Wednesday, Apr. 28 at 2 p.m. or Thursday, Apr. 29 at 10 a.m.

Where: Register now and we’ll send you the Zoom link the day before the workshop.

Questions: Contact the Faculty Media Center.

We look forward to seeing you on the 28th or 29th!

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Call for Applications – Inclusive Excellence@OSU 2021 Cohort

Each year IE@OSU welcomes STEM faculty from OSU, Linn-Benton, and Lane Community Colleges to participate in a year-long fellowship. Inclusive Excellence@OSU seeks to transform STEM education by creating a thriving community of peers who are invested in inclusive excellence in STEM, challenging fellows to develop equity and justice-oriented mindsets, and exploring pedagogical practices that fellows can implement in their own classrooms. Click here for application and more info.

Deadline to apply is May 3rd, 2021.


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RAP ON: Not all Retrieval Practice is Created Equal

About the Author: Emily Burgess is a graduate student in the School of Psychological Science at Oregon State University. Studying in the Engineering Psychology area, her research focuses on working memory and memory for emotional faces. This post is part of our series of Research Advancing Pedagogy (RAP) blogs, designed to share  pedagogical research from across the disciplines in a pragmatic format. 

The optimization of student learning has been studied through an array of lenses, ranging from instructional design, to active learning, to individual study methods. While each of these areas might approach an issue using different techniques, the goals are very much the same: the enhancement of student learning. While such topics are heavily researched, it’s time we put them into practice.

What do we see in a typical college classroom? Lectures, quizzes, frantic note-taking, flashcards, highlighting, rereading notes…. All of these come to mind with just as much ease as it requires to engage in them. Does easy = beneficial?

Let’s start with an example. Think about something you are very familiar with – a hobby, a sport, a subject. Compare what you know about it now to what you knew (or didn’t know) when first introduced to it. You didn’t just continue doing the same basic tasks to get to where you are now. When has just getting by using only the basics ever yielded a significant reward?

To learn, you challenged yourself. Learning became more difficult, but you became better. So when we think about our traditional classroom, do the methods mentioned previously demonstrate increased learning? The likely answer is no.

That’s where retrieval practice comes in. Retrieval practice is a method of learning and studying that requires the effortful recall of information. Instead of reading flashcards or highlighted sentences within a textbook, retrieval practice allows for a more active learning process. While the general study of retrieval practice has been a largely examined topic, the manipulation of retrieval techniques are given less attention.

Pyc and Rawson (2009) tested the retrieval effort hypothesis to assess the effects of retrieval practice differences. The basic assumption of the hypothesis is that a successful retrieval that is more difficult will have increased benefits for memory than a successful retrieval that is easy.

What did they do?

To test the retrieval effort hypothesis, Pyc and Rawson (2009) manipulated both the number of items between practice trials (ISI) and number of items to be correctly recalled before being removed from practice (criterion levels).

After studying word pairs, participants moved to the practice phase, where they were to recall the target word given a specific cue. Once the participant responded to an item a number of times such that the item reached its assigned criterion, the item was dropped from further practice.

To manipulate the number of items between practice trials, one group completed the experiment in a Study-Practice order. After studying List 1, participants then practiced List 1. The same order was followed for Lists 2-10. The other group studied lists 1-5 before practicing them. The remaining five lists were then studied and practiced.

After completing all study and practice trials (and a filler task), participants completed a recall test for all of the items.

What did they find?

As successful retrieval increased in difficulty, test performance also increased. Additionally, the more difficult the retrieval, the longer students took to retrieve the information. Taken together, these results imply that difficult retrieval requires increased cognitive effort, resulting in overall better memory.






What does this mean for instructors (and learners)?

Researchers continue to examine the effects and optimization of retrieval practice (for a review, see Karpicke, 2017), which has important implications for both instructors and learners. First, instructors can venture into the depths of different types of retrieval practice that best suits their students. Instructors can challenge students by implementing questions that require deeper thinking and more effort, as well as explicitly conveying the benefits of this to students. Students, on the other hand, must learn to apply active learning methods when studying… It’s time for students to retire the frantic rereading of notes and start challenging themselves.

Lastly, it is important to note that as with most things, there must be a balance. What works for one student may not apply to their peers to the same degree, if at all. Instructors and students must be reflective about what works best in individual cases, depending on an array of factors.

To sum, memory and learning effects of retrieval practice vary with difficulty levels. Learning, like most rewarding outcomes, may not always come easy… but it will be worth it.


Karpicke, J. D. (2017). Retrieval-based learning: A decade of progress. In J. T. Wixted (Ed.), Cognitive Psychology of Memory, Vol. 2 of Learning and Memory: A Comprehensive Reference (J. H. Byrne, Series Ed., pp. 487-514). Oxford: Academic Press.

Pyc, M. & Rawson, K. A. (2009). Testing the retrieval effort hypothesis: Does greater difficulty correctly recalling information lead to higher levels of memory? Journal of Memory and Language, 60(4), 437-447.

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Tuesday Teaching + Tech Talks

Tuesday Teaching +Tech Talks (T4): Join CTL for this Spring’s T4 workshop series! T4 is a certificated program introducing a wide range of pedagogical techniques and educational technology. T4 is open to all! Live Zoom sessions every Tuesday, 10-11:50. Registration is not necessary. See the T4 website for the Zoom link, recordings, and more. First session: March 30. 

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Join CTL!: New2OSU accelerates the effectiveness of new(er) teachers, those new to OSU, and/or those seeking teaching renewal. With remote, gamified, and customizable learning adventures, New2OSU provides:  

·         Self-paced missions 

·         Flexible program completion 

·         Digital badging 


PLAYER ONE READY? Accepting rolling admissions. Spring cohort launches March 29. REGISTER TO PLAY! 

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Call for Applications – CAAI Faculty Learning Community – Spring ‘21

Community for the Advancement of Antiracist Instruction (CAAI):  A learning community led by and for instructors and TAs

The Center for Teaching and Learning and Faculty Affairs have come together to sponsor a new faculty learning community. The Community for the Advancement of Antiracist Instruction (CAAI) has been designed as a professional development opportunity for instructors and TAs to take ownership of antiracist work in their teaching practice and beyond.  This grassroots project was designed and will be facilitated by a team of six instructors from programs across campus.  The intention is to create a space where instructors and TAs will have agency and feel empowered to explore antiracist teaching in a community of peers. The learning community will culminate in the creation of an antiracist teaching action plan.

Participants will attend an introductory meeting on Saturday, April 24 10:00 am-12:00 pm and will then engage with four interactive Canvas modules over the course of 4 weeks (April 26-May 23). While active in the learning community, participants will:

  1. Examine the social construction of Whiteness and its effects on teaching and learning, particularly in individual disciplines and among faculty in their academic units.
  2. Discuss and share conversations about race and racism with colleagues.
  3. Develop familiarity with and discuss antiracist pedagogy in general educational practices and across disciplines.
  4. Apply antiracist teaching practices through revisions to course design and delivery.
  5. Contribute to department and university expectations around diversity, equity and inclusion.

While space is limited for the CAAI, all OSU instructors and TAs from any campus (Corvallis, Cascade, Ecampus, etc.) are eligible to participate.  Instructors and TAs with all levels of experience and comfort with social justice, critical, inclusive and antiracist teaching approaches are encouraged to apply.  To apply, interested instructors and TAs should submit an application via the following link by March 31: CAAI Application Link.  Questions regarding this new learning community may be directed to the CAAI project lead, Raven Chakerian, Notifications regarding acceptance will be announced by April 7.

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