Introduction to Teaching Fundamentals & Student-Centered Learning at COCC

Welcome to Teaching Fundamentals! This is the site devoted to understanding the basics of good teaching and successful student learning at COCC.

Good teaching begins with good planning. And, good planning includes

  • considerations of who your students are,
  • what they bring to the learning experience,
  • what they are actually learning in your course.

We have included several items that are critical to the learning process. They include how to pre-plan your course around core assumptions through how to assess your course outcomes. We include basic tips for classroom management that all faculty wonder about.

COCC is an institution committed to Student-Centered Learning. Faculty consider carefully how to establish safe learning environments where all opinions and ideas are invited and supported within the agreements of fair exchange and communication. Faculty respect what students bring to the learning process and take pride in assisting all students to become successful. This does not mean that students are consumers who have a right to shop for the easiest way to obtain a grade. COCC strives to be a learning community where students are partners in the process and faculty learn as well as students so that they, too, can improve and grow.

This paradigm shift from a teaching-centered approach to a student-centered one is not easy and in many cases requires a major overhaul of a program or course, focusing on both the delivery system and student assessment. It is the next logical step in a curriculum that has developed student outcomes which is now firmly a part of the COCC culture.

Research is clearly showing that the “Guide by the Side” approach is more successful in achieving student learning than the “Sage on the Stage” approach. The “sage on the stage” approach is still prevalent with many teachers, where instructors lecture with relevant material and then test the students on how much of that knowledge is retained. The student-centered or “guide by the side” approach actually places the responsibility of learning on the students as well as the teacher. They become more responsible for their own learning and less dependent on the teacher. This approach actually requires more structure by the teacher, but it is more transparent to the students if done well. Teachers can then focus more on planning for student success. The teacher becomes more of a facilitator than a director on stage. Students tend to get more frequent and relevant feedback since they are assessed more often using a variety of techniques and on specific skills presented at the beginning of the lesson. This concept is not a process or project, but a philosophy.

By mastering the fundamentals of teaching COCC intends to insure that faculty achieve success as well. We will add to these pages as workshops and trainings take shape so that everyone can move forward.

If you have ideas of comments on these pages contact: The Instructional Deans office at the Bend campus, Metolius Hall, 211, (541) 383-7283.

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