Inaugural Fall 2017 Book Club Learning Community

Cover of bookJoin 20 of your faculty colleagues in a discussion of strategies that will help you be more efficient and effective in the classroom without overhauling your entire approach to teaching. In addition to these discussions with your faculty colleagues, you will have the opportunity to discuss the book content with the author, James Lang, via video conference on October 27th.

Sponsored by the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor, the Book Club Learning Community will explore research-based techniques described in James Lang’s book Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning. In this book, Dr. Lang describes strategies for improving student learning with a series of small-scale changes that can make a big impact. Designed to connect primary research and the classroom environment, these strategies can be implemented by faculty in any discipline and integrated into pre-existing teaching techniques. Each chapter introduces a basic concept in cognitive theory, explains when and how it should be employed and provides examples of how the intervention has been used in a variety of disciplines.

Participant Commitment

Pick up your copy between September 6 and September 11, anytime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Room 305 Brace Labs

  • Participate in the book discussions in Room 317 Brace Labs, from 12 Noon to 1:20 p.m. in September, November, and December. (Beverages and Dessert will be provided. Bring your own Lunch.) The October Video Conference will be  held in Room 237 of the Scott Engineering Center.
    • September 15, 2017, Discussion on Part I Knowledge: Retrieving, Predicting, Interleaving (Brace Labs 317)
    • October 27, 2017, Video Conference Discussion with author James Lang (Scott Engineering Center 237)
    • November 17, 2017, Discussion on Part II Understanding: Connecting, Practicing, Self-Explaining (Brace Labs Room 317)
    • December 8, 2017, Discussion on Part III Motivating, Growing, Expanding (Brace Labs Room 317)
    • Also if possible, attend the Fall 2017 Teaching and Learning Symposium, October 9, 2017, at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center, 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Breakout Session on Teaching Hints/Helps (Small Teaching Strategies being implemented by UNL faculty) begins at 2:30 p.m.
  • Identify one strategy to implement in your class either during the fall, spring, or summer semesters.
  • Interview for a short 5-minute podcast of your experience implementing the strategy. (These podcasts will be featured in the resources section of

The Book Group is limited to 20 faculty participants. Participants will receive a copy of the book, the opportunity to interact with other faculty around improving engagement and learning among your students, a chance to talk with the author about the concepts in the book and what he has learned from feedback from those that have implemented some of these strategies, and a certificate upon completion of the discussions.

I’m a big believer in the opening and closing minutes of class. I think those are really ripe opportunities for small teaching.

James Lang Author of Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning


Photo of James M. LangJames M. Lang is a professor of English and the Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption College in Worcester, MA, where he teaches courses in British literature and in creative nonfiction writing. The author of five books, including Small Teaching and On Course: A Week- by-Week Guide to Your First Semester of College Teaching, and more than a hundred reviews or essays, on topics ranging from higher education to British literature. Lang writes a monthly column for The Chronicle of Higher Education as well as edits a series of books on teaching and learning in higher education for the University of West Virginia Press. He has delivered public lectures and faculty workshops at more than fifty colleges or universities in the United States and abroad, and is currently a roster member of the Fulbright Specialist Program in higher education.

If you have questions, please contact Marie Barber, 402-472-4354