This Week for Faculty: Engage students in their learning

by | Mar 26, 2024

Experiment with AI for teaching and learning

Teaching Lab for AI Tools: Active Learning with AI
Wednesday, March 27, 11:00am – 12:00pm – Register

In this lab session, you will explore the intersection of AI tools and active learning through a hands-on activity. You will work in small groups to test out sample AI prompts and discuss the potential applications of AI for promoting active learning in the classroom.

You do not need any prior experience with AI tools to participate in these sessions. All that is needed is a laptop. Since each lab session will give you the option to explore one or more AI tools, you may need to create free accounts with various AI tools before the start of the session, and facilitators will reach out beforehand with more information.

Unable to join? Engage with the CTL on-demand resources: Considerations for Artificial Intelligence in the ClassroomGetting Started with Active LearningTeaching and Learning in the Age of AI: Considerations, Resources, and Opportunities; and the article “Assigning AI: Seven Approaches for Students with Prompts” (Mollick & Mollick, 2023). You can also schedule a consultation to chat with the CTL about generative AI in teaching and learning, or find other opportunities on our CTL events calendar.

Explore on-demand resources

Whether you are getting started with active learning, planning engaging lectures, trying to create DIY video to free up class time to engage your students, helping students learn through discussion, considering polls to engage and assess student thinking, or looking to assess active learning, the CTL has an on-demand resource for you. Explore our collection of on-demand resources any time and from anywhere. 

Explore the learner perspective on active learner within the tech-enhanced classroom, and ask your students to share their feedback on the active learning strategies that you implemented.

Apply to the Active Learning Institute 2024!

Join a community of practice in Summer 2024 by applying to the Active Learning Institute today!

Looking for ways to increase student engagement in your face-to-face or online classroom? In this four-day immersive online experience, Columbia and affiliate faculty will explore the purposes and benefits of active learning and learn how to apply these research-based practices by developing their own active and learner-centered (face-to-face or online) course units. 

During the institute, faculty will complete a series of hands-on activities and discussions over Zoom and CourseWorks (Canvas) to work through the essential components of designing engaging student learning experiences. Topics addressed include facilitating individual and collaborative learning activities, planning and creating effective instructional materials, and fostering and maintaining an inclusive course climate.

Faculty from Columbia and its affiliate institutions are invited to apply. Admission to the Active Learning Institute for Summer 2024 is rolling, and applications received by Monday, May 13, 2024, will be given priorityThe institute will run Monday, June 10 – Thursday, June 13, 2024 (online).

Request a Workshop To Go on active learning or a related topic

Invite the CTL to your department, school or program! Administrators can select from one of our Workshops To Go, Learning Communities To Go or request an intro to the CTL or custom session and we’ll bring the teaching and learning conversation to you! 

Workshop To Go sessions include: Getting Started with Active Learning, and sessions on the use of Columbia-supported instructional technologies that engage students in their learning, among others. Please reach out to us with questions at

Three tips to encourage active engagement

There are lots of ways to be “active” in the classroom. 

1. Have a conversation with your students about expectations and what it looks like to be engaged in your classroom as these expectations may differ across the courses that your students are enrolled in. Establish agreements for engagement that encourage all students to actively contribute to the classroom learning community

2. Share the learning objectives of activities so students know what and why they are being asked to engage. Be transparent about the skills that will be fostered through the activities. These skills might include metacognitioncollaboration, and active listening during discussions.

3. Model being present. Move around the room to connect with students and capture their attention. Minimize distractions to help students stay focused on their learning and engage with their peers. Explain to students when and why it is appropriate to use electronic devices to engage.

Looking for more active learning tips and strategies? Check out Student Engagement Techniques: a Handbook for College Faculty (Barkley & Major, 2020).

Consult with us!

Office Hours 
Join us for office hours via Zoom (or phone) Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm to have your teaching with instructional technology questions answered, or schedule an in-person appointment any time by contacting

Schedule an in-person or virtual consultation to discuss any teaching and learning need by emailing or email the CTL Learning Designer assigned to your school or department.