CTE Resources 

Helpful Links

Download the Syllabus Template for SUNY Plattsburgh Faculty (MS Word doc file size 450Kb) 

Some of the more relevant Academic Policies and Procedures and the Academic Honesty policy.

Interested in exploring new approaches to teaching? Stop by and check something out of the CTE library

Teaching Modes

Teaching Very Large Classes with Peer Instruction

Eric Mazur, Physics professor at Harvard, has developed and popularized methods of teaching very large science classes through non-traditional means. 
"Peer Instruction engages students during class through activities that require each student to apply the core concepts being presented, and then to explain those con- cepts to their fellow students. Unlike the common practice of asking informal ques- tions during a traditional lecture, which typically engages only a few highly motivated students, PI incorporates a more structured questioning process that involves every student in the class. A similar questioning process is also used with Thornton and Sokoloff’s Interactive Lecture Demonstrations."
Read more about the benefits of peer instruction, and how to incorporate some of these ideas into your own class. And remember to start small. You do not have to redesign an entire course to gain some of the benefits of peer instruction. 

Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL)

Initially developed to teach undergraduate Chemistry, POGIL is appropriate for a variety of disciplines. POGIL uses guided inquiry – a learning cycle of exploration, concept invention and application – as the basis for many of the carefully designed materials that students use to guide them to construct new knowledge. POGIL is a student-centered strategy; students work in small groups with individual roles to ensure that all students are fully engaged in the learning process.


Teaching General Education Courses 

The College's General Education curriculum is central to the College's mission to support the development of students into well-rounded, actively engaged critical thinkers and lifelong learners. While any general education course has a home in a discipline, teachers may endeavor to foster in students a different relationship with disciplinary content and practices as compared with courses in a student's major. These differences can be built into the design of the course, which itself is derived from course goals and intended outcomes

What's Special About a GenEd Course?

This introduction to GenEd instructors at Harvard provides some very helpful ideas for thinking about, designing, and communicating to students the unique approach and goals of a GenEd course. 

This introduction to GenEd course at Earldom College, a small, liberal arts college in Indiana, also provides guidance on designing and teaching GenEd courses. They remind us that in "a world that is increasingly interconnected, diverse and complex," we must all "be able to grasp and make use of new and unfamiliar ideas and to make significant connections not only within traditional spheres of knowledge, but across different intellectual and experiential boundaries."


Teaching in the Sciences

Virtual labs, webcasts, activities, and lesson plans

Bryn Mawr's Serendip Studio offers resources for college science teachers and students. 

Interactive labs, free webcasts, and other resources for all sciences at Howard Hughes Medical Institute BioInteractive.

Stanford University's Virtual Labs Project offers interactive tutorials and hands-on activities for Biology, Medicine, Health, and Humanities.


Conceptual Questions and Challenge Problems

Developed at the Purdue University Department of Chemistry, Conceptual Questions and Challenge Problems is a library of materials that you can incorporate into your course to teach and assess conceptual understanding and problem solving in chemistry. Here you can find a library of free response and multiple choice conceptual questions and challenge problems, tips for writing these questions and problems, and a discussion of types of concept questions. This site is intended to be a means of sharing conceptual questions and challenge problems among chemical educators.

Carnegie-Mellon's ChemCollective is a collection of virtual labs, scenario-based learning activities, tutorials, and concept tests.


ConcepTests and Peer Instruction

If you are teaching In the Geosciences, you too can create greater opportunities for active student engagement, even in large classes, with ConcepTests and Peer Instruction. Carleton College  provides their own take on ConcepTests and how to use them in your course.

Geology Online Labs: Skill building in "observation, measurement, and data analysis."

Resources at Other Teaching Centers


Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence. This is perhaps my favorite online resource. It is clean and absolutely loaded with interesting and challenging ideas for improving teaching. The "Using Technology" section is especially interesting; the tools and examples of teaching with technology make sense and are very engaging. The IrYdium Project and ChemCollective are fascinating sources of science tutorials, virtual labs, and advice for teaching in the sciences.

Dee Fink and Associates

This is a classic in Educational Development. L. Dee Fink's "A Self-directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning" is a 34 page document that provides a reflective, step-by-step blueprint for course design and assessment.

Ohio State University Center for the Advancement of Teaching

Creating a teaching portfolio? The Ohio State University Center for the Advancement of Teaching has a wealth of resources and suggestions to help you document your teaching principles, practices, and development. 

Contact Information

For general inquiries about the Center for Teaching Excellence, please contact:

The Center for Teaching Excellence
SUNY Plattsburgh
301 Feinberg Library, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
Phone: (518) 564-3043
Fax: (518) 564-5100
Email: cte@plattsburgh.edu