Book by George Henderson and Susan Smith Nash
Review by Johanna E. Pionke
Dept. of Criminology & Criminal Justice Studies
University of Maryland
College Park, MD

A vast majority of faculty and many advisors find themselves placed in teaching roles with a minimum of training or experience regarding how to engage students in learning. The authors indicate that the number of full time faculty trained in teaching is estimated to be less than thirty percent and those numbers are typically much lower for part-time faculty.  

Excellence in College Teaching and Learning: Classroom and Online Instruction is a valuable resource for faculty and advisors, especially those new to teaching. The text shares the journey of each author toward becoming effective classroom and online instructors. The reader is able to identify with the experiences and reflections of the authors as each journeyed from relative inexperience and absorption with their subject matter to becoming focused on their students’ learning experiences and the impact that quality instruction has upon their students and student learning outcomes.  

The text is divided into two distinct sections: methods of classroom instruction and online instruction. At the end of each chapter, readers are challenged to evaluate the chapter content by introspectively focusing on their instructional methods and their professional development as effective teachers. The text is developmental in nature as it takes readers from syllabi development through instructional methods, dealing with classroom behavior, and self assessment.  

As instructional methods are presented, the authors not only provide a multitude of strategies, but also discuss the challenges and drawbacks of each and tie strategies into course learning objectives. In Chapter 2 for example, the authors discuss collaborative and cooperative classroom activities. They begin by defining collaborative learning and then present a milieu of possible classroom activities and methods of implementation. The authors take this a step further by including suggestions for linking strategies to course learning objectives and providing tips on how to increase the success of each strategy to provide a meaningful and lasting learning experience for students. In Chapter 6, learning strategies are again discussed in relation to online learning experiences. Again, the variety of learning experiences presented and the depth to which challenges and benefits of each strategy are addressed are beneficial to new instructors. However they may appear to be redundant to those experienced in classroom or online teaching.

While primarily targeted to faculty, this text could also be useful to advisors who are teaching in the classroom, online or a combination of both. This text is particularly helpful for faculty and advisors who are new to teaching, but also offers strategies for those seeking ways to improve the efficacy of their teaching in the classroom or online.

Excellence in college teaching and learning: Classroom and online instruction (2007). Book by George Henderson and Susan Smith Nash. Review by Johanna E. Pionke. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, LTD, 290 pp.,$59.95 (hardback). ISBN # 978-0-398-07750-1
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