Digital Learning Blog

Promoting Digital Active Learning and Student Learning Support

by | Jan 13, 2022 | Bo Choi, Digital Learning Blog, Faculty Spotlight

I would like to spotlight Dr. Charles (Ted) Wright is a Professor of Teaching in the Cognitive Science School of Social Sciences and Associate Dean of campuswide honors.  Dr. Wright and I met in the summer of 2020 through the Digital Learning Institute (DLI). During this 7 weeklong DLI program, I was privileged to support Dr. Wright’s design of Psych 9B for remote teaching. Throughout the program, I saw his passion for teaching and his desire for all his students to succeed in his class. Although there are many examples of his outstanding work, I will share two main areas: active learning and student learning support.

From the very first meeting with Dr. Wright, it was very clear to me how well he understands and practices active learning. He has evolved and transformed the teaching of this class by applying many active learning techniques that he has learned over the years. In Psych 9B in particular, he has chosen an engaging and interactive e-textbook and paired it with an adaptive learning tool, InQuiztive (fig.1), to help students actively learn. He also created short videos with embedded YuJa Video Quizzes (YuJa Media Enterprise supported by UCI) to provide engagement questions and points of reflection for students to foster the metacognitive process. Dr. Wright has also written a paper on “Options for Teaching Large (300-400 Student) Virtual Courses with Active Learning Components” and shares his knowledge and examples with his colleagues to promote active learning.

Figure 1. InQuizitive Study Unit 6.3 interactive activity on “How Our Environment Influences What We Learn” with correct answer feedback

Dr. Wright also goes the extra mile supporting students to increase their performance in class. One example is providing his “How to Succeed in Psych Fundamental B” video in the beginning of the quarter so students can have the right rhythm and understanding of the course and to also suggest proven study habits (fig.2). He also created learning community opportunities for all of his 425 students by dividing them into smaller groups of 5-6 students and encouraging them to watch asynchronous content together and discuss. This learning community space was also used to develop an informal social connection amongst the students that is often missing in the remote environment. 

Figure 2. Professor Wright’s “How to Succeed in Psych Fundamentals B” presentation sharing the rhythm of the course and suggestions for how to study to maximize retrieval practice

These are only a couple of examples that show how Dr. Wright’s teaching philosophy incorporates the core values of active learning and student learning support, and how he brings great impact to ensure his students’ success.

Dr. Wright is definitely a role model and outstanding faculty member in all modes of teaching, and I can proudly say he deserves this spotlight for all of thegreat work he does for his students. 

About the Author:

Bo Choi

Bo Choi, M.A.Ed
Instructional Designer, Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation (DTEI)

Bo is an instructional designer at Learning Experience Design and Online Education at DTEI, University of California, Irvine (UCI). She has been serving in higher education as an instructional designer over a decade, with training and many years of experience in creating effective teaching and learning experiences and materials for technology-infused, hybrid and online learning. Bo uses campus learning technologies to great effect, with attention to universal design principles that provide meaningful and inclusive learning opportunities for students with different strengths and abilities. She joined the DTEI team in August 2019 after serving as an instructional designer at Cal Poly Pomona for 12 years. She has a BS in Engineering Technology and a MA.Ed in Multimedia Education.