Course Transformation Work

PSYC 104, General Psychology: Work on this course took place over several years beginning in 2012. We began by moving from a single large lecture course to smaller sections taught by graduate students, while still retaining the same enrollment. Following that shift, we changed the approach to the class so that the normative use of classroom time is now using active learning teaching strategies and activities.  The original course learning goals were also refined and aligned with department, university, and national psychology standards.  Plans were implemented to help coordinate multiple sections, train graduate student instructors, and implement effective and efficient assessment of learning goals.

PSYC 210, Statistics in Psychological ResearchChanges to this course included developing learning goals, adopting interactive online materials, and providing teaching training to the graduate students who teach the course.  In order to alleviate student anxiety about statistics and demonstrate the value of statistics, the traditional final exam was replaced by a more authentic assessment.  This project required students, working in teams, to analyze real-world data and present their results in a poster that was presented during the final exam time.

PSYC 333, Child Development: This is an upper-division course for majors and non-majors that enrolls 200+ students. Changes implemented included (a) adding regular reading quizzes and reflections; (b) implementing fixed learning teams for in-class work and organizing class time around team-based exercises that promoted problem solving and application; (c) incorporating more scaffolding for reading, interpreting and critically evaluating psychological research; and (d) shifting from exams to authentic , problem-based assignments that included individual and team products.  To learn more about the first wave of redesign efforts, see this poster: “A Full Flip: Reorganizing a Large Psychology “Lecture” around Team-Based Exercises” (2016)

Click the image below to see the developmental science principles pre- and post-test results for students, as well as the impact of interpreting and using research had on students critical thinking. You can see the complete poster by clicking here: Team Problem-Based Learning Poster



Faculty and Student Development Programs

Teaching and Graduate Student Prep Days: Prior to the first week of classes each fall semester we hosted a teaching prep day, one for faculty and one for graduate student instructors. We provided opportunities to fine tune elements of courses and consult with colleagues about teaching to help our faculty  and graduate student instructors get excited about the first week of class. We balanced time for individual work with conversations about teaching.

Consultation with Graduate Students who Teach Online Courses: We provided assistance for graduate student instructors who are teaching or developing online courses. Consultations were available for any part of the teaching process—brainstorming, syllabus development, creating assignments/assessing learning, creating rubrics, or navigating Blackboard or other LMS platforms.  Another resource provided was “Minds Online:  Teaching Effectively with Technology” by Michelle D. Miller, which approaches online learning and teaching based on cognitive science, and provides ideas based in theory and evidence that support online teaching.

Transformation Highlight: Psychological Statistics Course

DFW Rates

Declining DFW rates across the course suggests that this overall redesign of Psychological Statistics has been successful at helping students better master the material from this class.


Marsha McCartney, Ph.D. was the Teaching Fellow for the Department of Psychology at the University of Kansas from 2014 until 2017. Marsha is now an Associate Teaching Professor in the KU Department of Psychology. In her Teaching Fellow position, she worked with faculty and graduate students to redesign courses with high enrollment, with the goals of improving learning, instruction, and retention.  She used her knowledge of learning theories and extensive teaching experience to help instructors design activities that promote active participation and authentic learning.  She taught and/or redesigned courses in General Psychology, Introductory Statistics, Child Development, Research Methods, Social Psychology, Educational Psychology, and Positive Psychology.  She has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with concentration areas in Learning and Development, and earned a Minor in College Teaching.  Her research interests include learning and motivation in higher education and faculty teaching development.  She can be contacted regarding the repository for Psychology at


Andrea Follmer Greenhoot, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology, Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Gautt Teaching Scholar at the University of Kansas. Her disciplinary expertise is in cognitive development and memory and she teaches courses on child development, cognitive development, memory, and theories of developmental science. She was drawn to the work of the Center for Teaching Excellence through her interest in applying cognitive and developmental science to questions about teaching and learning in higher education. She led KU’s postdoctoral Teaching Fellows program and the C21 Course Redesign Consortium. She is always changing her courses using evidence-based strategies to improve her students’ learning, and is currently working on transforming the large 300-level Child Development course with Psychology Teaching Fellow Marsha McCartney. Andrea was PI on the TRESTLE project.


Susan Marshall, Ph.D. is a Lecturer and Academic Program Associate in the Psychology Department at the University of Kansas. She is a cognitive psychologist with training in human memory, cognitive aging, and dementia. She serves as Coordinator for all sections of General Psychology and Statistics in Psychological Research. In this role, Susan oversees the team of graduate students who teach both of these courses and maintains the instructor development program that helps these students become effective teachers. Along with over 20 years of teaching experience, she now applies her knowledge of cognitive principles to developing successful teaching techniques that can be utilized both in the classroom and in online teaching formats.