OIA Mini-Primers

OIA Mini-Primers are short introductions to a variety of teaching topics. They have been designed for any instructor, including graduate teaching assistants.

After exploring the mini-primers that interest you, we invite you to schedule an individual consultation on any of these topics. 


Available mini-primers are:

  • Active Learning Strategies

    • This mini-primer presents several active learning strategies designed to engage students in thinking about or applying the content in a course.

  • Backward Design

    • This mini-primer provides an overview of the backward-design process, which is a way of planning lessons, courses, or programs that focuses on the desired learning outcomes first and teaching activities last.

  • Classroom Management

    • This mini-primer presents guiding principles and practical advice for managing your classroom. These principles apply to both online and on-ground courses.

  • Collaborative Learning

    • This mini-primer provides an overview of best practices in supporting collaborative learning, in which students work in pairs or small groups to accomplish shared learning goals.

  • Finding Teaching Resources on the Web

    • This mini-primer outlines the types of resources instructors can find online to support and refine their scholarship and practice in teaching. It also includes a short list of manual-style books available online through the UALibraries.
  • Flipping Your Classes to Enhance Active Learning

    • This mini-primer is designed for instructors who would like to learn about the concept of the "flipped classroom" and the goal of reserving more in-class, group-based time for active learning tasks. In addition to the introductory resources presented here, instructors are encouraged to look for evidence-based studies about the impact of the flipped classroom on learning within their respective disciplines.

  • Improving Verbal and Nonverbal Communication with Students Online and Face to Face

    • This mini-primer begins with a literature review on the nature and role of communication in teaching and then provides many practical tips and strategies to diversify and refine verbal and nonverbal communication.
  • Inclusive Excellence in Teaching

    • This mini-primer introduces several integrated concepts that help instructors to think about and develop inclusive teaching practices. Short definitions of core concepts introduce sets of specific and practical questions that instructors can use to consider inclusive teaching practices while planning, implementing, and assessing their courses.

  • Learning Sciences Strategies

    • This mini-primer presents some teaching and learning strategies drawn from research on learning, that make it more likely that students will retain what they learn and will be able to use that learning in future courses and after they graduate.

  • Tips & Resources for Incoming Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs)

    • This mini-primer consists of 11 tips that introduce new GTAs to various campus and teaching support resources, policies and requirements, and practical strategies to prepare for the first week of classes.
  • Using Clickers for Learning

    • This mini-primer provides an introduction to using clicker technology from a pedagogical perspective, including an overview of clicker use at The University of Arizona, best practices, and positive effects on student learning. 
  • Writing an Effective Course Syllabus

    • This mini-primer invites instructors to think about the nature and purposes of syllabi in their own teaching and to ask questions that help communicate their course design to others through the syllabus. Moreover, it informs about institutional guidelines, requirements, and templates.

Additional mini-primers are in preparation. If you have suggestions for improving these or adding other topics, please contact us.