Adopting and Implementing Evidence-based Teaching Strategies Online

Concurrent Session 2
Streamed Session

Watch This Session

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

In this session, we will discuss how to implement and spread the adoption of specific evidence-based teaching strategies in courses utilizing an LMS.  Evidence-based teaching strategies are backed by research studies indicating their effectiveness at improving student learning, engagement, attitudes, or other factors related to academic success.  


Director of Teaching & Learning, Florida Polytechnic University. Background in STEM education research, educational technology, and faculty development.
Rose Tran is a Faculty Developer/Instructional Designer at Valencia College. She supports faculty and staff across all campuses with college-wide initiatives related to online teaching and learning.
Jo Ann Smith, Ph.D Faculty Developer/Instructional Designer/Online Faculty/Program Evaluator Jo Ann Smith is a member of the Online Learning Excellence Team at Valencia College. Currently she consults with faculty to create quality online instructional courses that align with Valencia’s Rubric for Online Competencies. She has taught online for over thirteen years, having designed and developed a unique online graduate program in 2011 for research administrators. She was the Director of the graduate program for seven years. She continues to teach online at the University of Central Florida while providing consulting services as an external program evaluator for institutes of higher education, school districts, and nonprofits. For many years she successfully provided consultation to university researchers to develop competitive federal, state, and private grant proposals that have resulted in over $100 million in program awards. Jo is often referred to as a generalist in higher education specializing broadly in curriculum development, instructional design, online learning and social presence, grant proposal development, assessment, and program evaluation. She has experience in various research methods including interviewing, conducting focus groups, survey development, and statistical data analysis. Jo has reviewed grant proposals for state and federal organizations. Jo also presented at national and international conferences. She served as co-editor of the Research Management Review for three years.
Alex Penn has been a Faculty Developer/Instructional Designer at Valencia College for over 4 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Nevada, Reno and a Master of Arts in Instructional Design and Technology from the University of Central Florida.

Extended Abstract

National organizations and professional societies are increasingly calling for the adoption of evidence-based teaching strategies grounded in research on how people learn (Benassi et al., 2014; Kober, 2015; MAA, 2018). These are strategies for which there have been research studies indicating their effectiveness at improving student learning, engagement, attitudes, or other factors related to student success. Several barriers to adoption of these evidence-based teaching strategies have been identified, including lack of time and insufficient resources and support (Shadle et al., 2017). Adopting evidence-based teaching strategies in online learning contexts may even more challenging, as faculty may be constrained by the tools available within a learning management system (LMS) and by the constraints inherent in asynchronous online learning.

In this interactive session, we will identify and discuss various evidence-based teaching strategies which can be more easily implemented in a learning management system, with specific examples in Canvas including: transparent assignments, minute papers, values affirmations, social belonging interventions, goal setting, student testimonials, nudges, discussion protocols, exam wrappers, and midterm student feedback surveys.

Participants will have an opportunity to discuss, select, and plan for the implementation and adoption of evidence-based teaching strategies in their own courses and at their institution. As we are going through and demonstrating various teaching techniques, participants will have an opportunity to follow along by writing on a planning worksheet and discussing in small groups their thoughts on how they might apply these techniques.

We will also discuss different change strategies that can be used to increase faculty awareness and adoption of these and other evidence-based teaching techniques (Borrego & Henderson, 2014).  The presenters will share how they have utilized explicit strategies, such as teaching about these strategies in faculty development courses and workshops, and more implicit strategies such as incorporating evidence-based teaching techniques in our sample online courses and templates.  Participants will have an opportunity to share change strategies they have used or plan to utilize.

We will tweet out information about the session beforehand using the conference hashtag. Session participants will be provided with handouts containing resources related to the session, as well as a worksheet to use for selecting and planning the implementation of one or more evidence-based teaching strategies in their courses.  Participants will work in small groups to discuss and work on their implementation plans, and they will have opportunities to share out with the rest of the attendees. The presenters will demonstrate some of the evidence-based teaching techniques throughout the session.


Benassi, V. A., Overson, C., & Hakala, C. M. (2014). Applying science of learning in education: Infusing psychological science into the curriculum. Retrieved from

Borrego, M., & Henderson, C. (2014). Increasing the use of evidence‐based teaching in STEM higher education: A comparison of eight change strategies. Journal of Engineering Education, 103(2), 220-252. Retrieved from

Damgaard, M. T., & Nielsen, H. S. (2018). Nudging in education. Economics of Education Review, 64, 313-342.

Kober, N. (2015). Reaching students: What research says about effective instruction in undergraduate science and engineering. National Academies Press. Retrieved from

MAA [Mathematical Association of America]. (2018). Guide to Evidence-Based Instructional Practices in Undergraduate Mathematics. Retrieved from

Shadle, S. E., Marker, A., & Earl, B. (2017). Faculty drivers and barriers: laying the groundwork for undergraduate STEM education reform in academic departments. International Journal of STEM Education, 4(1), 8. Retrieved from