Meet Amanda Nolen!
Welcome to Dr. Amanda Nolen, who joined the Center for Teaching and Learning in August 2022! Learn more about Amanda’s role at CTL and background below.
What Is Your Role At CTL And What Are You Most Excited About Working On?
I am a Faculty Teaching and Learning Specialist in the Center for Teaching and Learning. In that role I work with faculty across campus as they are developing or refining their own teaching practice.
How Did You Become Interested In Supporting Faculty In Teaching and Learning? What Do You Enjoy Most About It?
As an educational psychologist, I have dedicated my career to understanding learning in general, and specifically, the teaching and learning dynamic that leads to deep, meaningful learning for all students. In my role, I can bring that knowledge to bear as I work with my CTL colleagues to provide programming and support for the faculty to enrich the culture of learning at Georgia Tech. I particularly enjoy it when I can help faculty understand why something is or is not working in their teaching practice and point them to the tools and strategies grounded in the evidence of what works.
What Is A Recommendation For A Resource On Teaching And Learning You Have For Instructors at GT?
I am going to cheat a little bit and recommend a book, a podcast, and a web resource.
First, the book that stands out in my mind in its practicality and value is Learning that Matters: A Field Guide to Course Design for Transformative Education by Caralyn Zehnder, Cynthia Alby, Karynne Kleine, and Julia Metzker (2021). This is a book that is grounded in a rich body of pedagogical research and is as engaging as it is interesting. It acts like a workbook in which the authors lead the reader through an exploration of specific techniques to make courses/content more engaging.
Second, the podcast Teaching in Higher Education has provided me with wonderful support over the years as a professor. It touches on everything teaching related: the good, the bad, and even the ugly. Two episodes that I highly recommend are episode 231 “How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories Behind Effective College Teaching” with Joshua Eyler and episode 135 “The Spark of Learning” with Sarah Rose Cavanagh. Both Eyler and Cavanagh speak to the importance of teaching to the whole student and the important connection between learning and emotion in the classroom. (https://teachinginhighered.com/episodes/)
Finally, a web resource I recommend is the Course Workload Estimator. Have you ever wondered if you are assigning too much reading or writing? Too little? Wake Forest University has built an enhanced course workload estimator to help you assess the amount of time it would take an average college student to complete common academic tasks based on reading rates (i.e., page density, text difficulty, and reading purpose) and writing rates (i.e., page density, text genre, and drafting and revision). It is refined enough to where you can see how you can make small adjustments with consequential results. You can find it here: https://cat.wfu.edu/resources/tools/estimator2/
What Is A Fun Fact About Yourself That You’d Like To Share?
I love puzzles of all kinds: logic, trivia, crossword, math, even a good old fashioned jigsaw. I can’t get enough. A day that begins with the Wordle and ends with the NYT Crossword is a good day!