In this episode, Daniel and David read and discuss from Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses, by L. Dee Fink.



Creating Significant Learning Experiences / Student Caring

We won’t meet the needs for more and better higher education until professors become designers of learning experiences and not teachers.
–Larry Spence (2001)

Preface, Page xi

Reading by Dr. Daniel de Roulet

This book has been written in response to two widespread problems that I see in much of college teaching today. The first is that the majority of college teachers do not seem to have learning goals that go much beyond an understanding-remember type of learning.



  • This book caused me to stop and say that I need to raise the bar.
  • What we and our students are hungry for is knowledge. What does this all add up to?
  • I think we are having fun in this class, but do they understand how this fits into the transformative picture?
  • How can my course help them in the long run?
  • How do I want my students to reflect back on this course, years from now?


Reading by Prof. David C. Pecoraro

The second problem is that most teachers seem to have difficulty figuring out what teaching activities they might use besides the two traditional standbys: lecturing and leading discussions.



  • I do see the area around the university as my classroom also. Currently, my classroom is Southern California.
  • A class does not need to begin and end during the scheduled hours.
  • Hanging around after class to talk to students is a way to stretch those boundaries to help students to understand that our class and learning is not restricted to 50 minutes of the scheduled time.
  • Class, we are having a very long – five hour class this Friday.

Page 4

Are People Concerned About These Problems?

Reading by Prof. David C. Pecoraro

Faculty Concerns.  When I talk to faculty, many say their biggest concern is low student attendance in class. Many see daily class attendance running around 50 percent by mid-semester in their lower division courses. But they report other problems as well. Students do not complete reading assignments. The energy level in class discussions is low. Students focus on grades rather than on learning. Textbook keep getting larger and larger, which means teachers have to work harder and harder to cover the material. Many say they have lost their joy in teaching. And when they try change, they often feel unsupported by students, colleagues, and the whole institution.

Student Concerns.  Students, for their part, have similar concerns. They often complain about courses not being very interesting, that they just sit and take notes and then cram for exam after exam. They have difficulty seeing the value of significance of what they are learning. They too see the textbooks getting larger and larger; for them this means greater cost as well as more material that they have to learn, master, or memorize for the test.



  • When the weather gets good, out her in California, we see the attendance go down.


Page 28

Beginning the Journey

Reading by Dr. Daniel de Roulet

Good courses are courses that…

  • Challenge students to significant kinds of learning.
  • Use active forms of learning.
  • Have teachers who care–about the subject, their students, and about teaching and learning.
  • Have a good system of feedback, assessment and grading.



  • Notice that he doesn’t mention subject matter. 
  • The absence of the human connection means that you are just exploring the topic. The depth and genuine connection between professor and student doesn’t happen when that is all that you focus on.


Creating Significant Learning Experiences:
An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses
L. Dee Fink
ISBN 0-7879-6055-1
Available via this link on Amazon

Right or control click here to download the MP3 of the Podcast.

Nickel Pecoraro : Student Caring

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The Caring Professor Sample