Signature Courses Resources


Resources available for checkout at TAMIU

           Books Available at University College

    • Bain, K. (2011). What the best college teachers do. Harvard University Press.
    • Baldwin, A., Piscitelli, S., & Sherfield, R. (2010). Engaging activities for active learning. Boston, MA: Pearson.
    • Barkley, E. F. (2009). Student engagement techniques: A handbook for college faculty. John Wiley & Sons.
    • Barnet, S., & Bedau, H. (2008). Critical thinking, reading, and writing: A brief guide to argument (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's.
    • Bean, J. C. (2011). Engaging ideas: The professor's guide to integrating writing, critical thinking, and active learning in the classroom. John Wiley & Sons.
    • Bowen, J. A. (2012). Teaching naked. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
    • Facione, P. (2011). Think critically. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
    • Gore, P. A., Leuwerke, W., & Metz, A. (2016). Connections: Empowering college and career success. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's.
    • Henry, D. (2011). Writing for life: Sentences and paragraphs. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
    • Heppner, F. (2007). Teaching the large college class: A guidebook for instructors with multitudes (Vol. 116). John Wiley & Sons.
    • Howard, J. R. (2015). Discussion in the College Classroom: Getting Your Students Engaged and Participating in Person and Online. John Wiley & Sons.
    • Kuh, G. D., Kinzie, J., Schuh, J. H., & Whitt, E. J. (2005). Student success in college: Creating conditions that matter. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
    • Langan, J., & Broderick, B. (1993). Ten steps to building college reading skills (2nd ed. Instructor's edition). Marlton, NJ: Townsend Press.
    • McQuade, D., & Atwan, R. (1991). Resources for teaching: The Winchester reader. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's.
    • McWhorter, K. T. (2000). Study & critical thinking skills in college (4th ed.). Longman.
    • McWhorter, K. T. (2003). Study and critical thinking skills in college (5th ed.). Longman Publishers.
    • McWhorter, K. T. (2012). Guide to college reading (Annotated Instructor's ed. 9th ed.). Glenview, IL: Pearson Longman.
    • Nilson, L. B. (2010). Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors. John Wiley & Sons.
    • O'Brien, J. G., Millis, B. J., & Cohen, M. W. (2008). The course syllabus: A learning-centered approach (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
    • Rendon, L. I., Garcia, M., & Person, D. (2004). Transforming the first year of college for students of color (Monograph No. 38). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina: National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.
    • Sheldon, L. (2012). The multiplayer classroom: Designing coursework as a game. Boston, MA: Course Technolog Cengage Learning.

           Books Available at the TAMIU Library

    • Pink, D.  H. (2006). A whole new mind: Why right-brainers will rule the future. New York: Riverhead Books.
    • Drapeau, P. (2014).  Sparking student creativity: Practical ways to promote innovative thinking and problem solving.   Alexandria, VA:  Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
    • Jonassen, D. H. (2011). Learning to solve problems: A handbook for designing problem-solving learning environments. New York: Routledge.
    • Svinicki, M. D. (2004).  Learning and motivation in the postsecondary classroom. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc.
    • Costa, A. L. & Kallick, B. (eds.) (2000). Activating & engaging habits of mind. Alexandria, VA:  Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
    • Costa, A. L. (ed.) (2001). Developing minds: A resource book for teaching thinking.  Alexandria, VA:  Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
    • Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student engagement techniques: A handbook for college faculty. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    • Dweck, C.  S. (2008). Mindset: The new psychology of success, how we can learn to fulfil our potential.  New York: BallantineBooks.

          Video Recordings of TAMIU Guest Speakers

           DVD and session handouts can be checked out in the Service-Learning Center office (Zaffirini Student Success Center 223)           

    • Doolittle, Peter. "Teaching large classes with active learning and effective assessment." Texas A&M International University. July 18, 2014.
    • Svinicki, Marilla. "Teaching in higher education: Applying the science of learning to the art of teaching large classes." Texas A&M International University. February 8, 2013.
    • Svinicki, Marilla. "Teaching in higher education: Motivation principles that apply to higher education situations." Texas A&M International University. February 8, 2013.
    • Svinicki, Marilla. "Teaching in higher education: Applying the science of learning to the art of teaching small classes." Texas A&M International University. February 8, 2013.


Additional Signature Courses Resources

      Learn about Signature Courses (Handout) 

      Associations of American Colleges and Universities (AACU)

    • Kuh, G. D. (2008). High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter. Association of American Colleges & Universities. Retrieved from http://www.aacu.org/leap/hips
    • Rhodes, T. L. edit. (2010). Tips and Tools for Using Rubrics. Association of American Colleges & Universities. Retrieved from https://www.aacu.org/value-rubrics

      Understanding by Design

      Professional Development Workbook

       A Big Idea…

      • Provides a “conceptual lens” for prioritizing content.
      • Serves as an organizer for connecting important facts, skills, and actions.
      • Transfers to other contexts.
      • Manifests itself in various ways within disciplines.
      • Requires uncoverage because it is an abstraction.

       Essential Questions

      • Have no simple “right” answer; they are meant to be argued.
      • Are designed to provoke and sustain student inquiry, while focusing learning and final performances.
      • Often address the conceptual or philosophical foundations of a discipline.
      • Raise other important questions.
      • Naturally and appropriately recur.
      • Stimulate vital, ongoing rethinking of big ideas, assumptions, and prior lessons.

        Tips for Using Essential Questions

      1. Organize programs, courses, units of study, and lessons around the questions. Make the “content” answer the questions.
      2. Select or design assessment tasks (up front) that are explicitly linked to the questions. The tasks and performance standards should clarify what acceptable pursuit of, and answers to, the questions actually looks like.
      3. Use a reasonable number of questions per unit (two to five). Make less be more. Prioritize content for students to make the work clearly focus on a few key questions.
      4. Frame the questions in “kid language” as needed to make them more accessible. Edit the questions to make them as engaging and provocative as possible for the age group
      5. Ensure that every student understands the questions and sees their value. Conduct a survey or informal check, as necessary, to ensure this understanding and recognition.
      6. Derive and design specific concrete exploratory activities and inquiries for each question.
      7. Sequence the questions so that they naturally lead from one to another.
      8. Post the essential questions in the classroom and encourage students to organize notebooks around them to make clear their importance for study and note taking.
      9. Help students to personalize the questions. Have them share examples, personal stories, and hunches. Encourage them to bring in clippings and artifacts to help make the questions come alive.
      10. Allot sufficient time for “unpacking” the questions- examining subquestions and probing implications-mindful of student, age, experience, and other instructional obligations. Use question and concept maps to show relatedness of questions.
      11. Share your questions with other faculty to make planning and teaching for cross-subject matter coherence more likely. Encourage ideas to promote overarching questions school wide- ask teachers to post their questions in the faculty room and in department meeting and planning areas. Type and circulate questions in the faculty bulletin. Present and discuss questions at faculty and P.T.S.A. meetings.

 Helpful Links from Other Universities

Rutgers University Resources:

                For Faculty: http://sasoue.rutgers.edu/core/sas-signature-course-initiative       

                For Students and the Public: http://sas.rutgers.edu/signature-courses       

                Request for Proposals: http://sasoue.rutgers.edu/component/docman/?task=doc_download&gid=362&Itemid=228       

                Video on Signature Courses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0cSUn7uYVLY


University of Texas Resources:

       Website for Signature Courses: http://www.utexas.edu/ugs/sig

University of Central Florida Resources:

PowerPoint Presentation: Tricks of the Trade: Teaching Large Classes       

Website for Large Classes: http://www.fctl.ucf.edu/teachingandlearningresources/learningenvironments/largeclass.php 

Examples of Interdisciplinary Teaching:




Contact Information: 

Texas A&M International University
University College
Zaffirini Student Success Center 223
5201 University Blvd.
Laredo, Texas  78041-1900

Email: signaturecourse@tamiu.edu

Phone: 956.326.2134
Fax: 956.326.2129