Methods, Pedagogy, and Technology

Teaching methods are the approaches of learner engagement you pursue as the educator in the classroom. Do you play the role of learning facilitator, coach, and/or content expert? There are four main schools of teaching methods and it is very helpful to let your students know at the beginning of the semester which approach you subscribe to and why.

  1. Teacher-centered methods
  2. Learner-centered methods
  3. Content-focused methods
  4. Interactive/participative methods

The curricular structure developed in the syllabus needs to be put into action through deliberate pedagogy, methods of teaching, and the integration of technology where appropriate. This is as important for interdisciplinary electives as it is for structured prerequisite courses that have threshold concepts that must be learned to advance in the program. The construction of teachable units, whereby faculty develop instructional materials with goals and evaluation in mind are created by combining the teaching method with the pedagogical strategies inside that approach. When used appropriately, technology can help students to interact with the content of the course, as well as engage with each other.

Bringing  your research into the classroom

The significant growth of research in universities did not occur until the early twentieth century (Hattie and Marsh 1996). However, there is a great gap between research and teaching in many universities. Even if being an outstanding teacher does not make one a great researcher, that does not mean research and teaching are not linked. That is why NYU Abu Dhabi is a liberal arts college, teaching global leaders, while still taking part in cutting edge research in the UAE.  Research and teaching can be incorporated in two different ways:

  • By bringing your research into the classroom
  • By using evidence-based teaching methods to enhance learning experience or Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Four was to bring your research into the classroom

The value of bringing your research into the classroom

For more details visit What does Research-Informed Teaching look like?

Figure 1: Different ways one can bring research into the classroom. Source: Healey and Jenkins 2009


Students’ experience of research in the classroom

El Sqara, Falconry January 4, 2020

Jay Lee, Class of 2022
History Major with a Minor in Psychology

Falconry with Professor Anne-Lise Tropato (CCEA)

The research that was integrated with the course was actually the professor's own project. She wanted to develop a database of artistic representations of falconry around the world across various time periods...Personally, being part of this research project has been immensely helpful. It really taught me to think outside the box of finding new sources and integrating them into the research. For example, I've only understood falconry in a European context, but I took the contents of the class and applied it to the research process. I began looking for artworks of falconry in the Middle East, the Americas, and even to my home country Korea. As I found a lot of sources that show falconry represented in Korea, I got more in touch with my country's culture and history, so it was even more meaningful for me”

Vibrant jellabiyas of women at the beach

Yusril Nurhidayat Class of 2022
Social Research and Public Policy Major with a minor in Economics, Theater, and Political Science

Research into the Classroom

“By integrating our professor’s research we understand our textbook learning in real life settings. Integrating your research process into the classroom shows students “This is how you translate anything that you read into any type of work you will be doing in the future.” So it is more like the ways of thinking and the ways of processing information”

Practical ways of adding your research to the classroom

Course Design

  • Begin with sharing personal experiences of doing research and how that relates with the class you are teaching. It would be great if you showed solid examples so students can truly be engaged.
  • Update the course design in order to add recent research on the course topic. You can also encourage the students to come up with recent research and engage with it (e.g.  presentations).
  • Apart from discussing the topic and results of the teachers, introduce the methodology and process of knowledge.
  • Design the course for  students to look at different research on and off campus. There are many ways researchers within and out of NYUAD present their research such as NYUAD Institute.
  • There are also Capstone presentations by senior students in the fall and spring that would give students a look on how they will do their capstone in the future.


  • Hone students’ skills by giving them projects that allow them to use different research methods. Since small research projects might be daunting in a non methods class, group work would be more preferred.
  • When you ask students to do research in a non methods class, introduce the topic in the beginning of the course and gradually teach them the skills needed to conduct in.  
  • Engage them by giving them assignments of what the research presentation was about or the methods used. If you want students to have personal discussion, invite you fellow researchers to class or make students schedule an interview with them  personally then make them write a report.
  • Research assignments should include essential aspects of a research process such as collecting/analysing data, finding references for literature review, and challenging former research.
  • Incentivise  students by promoting their research on NYUAD website or publications. This puts a responsibility on students to perform better and give them a solid reason to do research. You can also set a presentation for an end of class research where students present their work to those outside of class.

Sources:  Stanford integrating Research and Teaching in Practice and National College of Digital Skills’ Research Informed Teaching Strategy


Healey, M., 2005. Linking research and teaching to benefit student learning. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 29(2), pp.183-201.

Marsh, H.W. and Hattie, J., 2002. The relation between research productivity and teaching effectiveness: Complementary, antagonistic, or independent constructs?. The Journal of Higher Education, 73(5), pp.603-641.

Trauma-Informed Teaching

The anxieties and dislocations brought on by COVID-19 induced changes to how we work and live can negatively impact learning. The added stresses student experience can impact their abilities to self-regulate learning behaviors and focus on their work. It is important to devise strategies for your course design and classroom to support learning during trauma, not least because of COVID-19. In general this involves being flexible and allowing students to use their voices to make choices about their learning.

Teaching during trauma and crisis approaches are well detailed on the Yale-NUS College CTL website.

Assessing Students' Prior Knowledge

In your course design, build in activities and space for conversations around students’ prior knowledge.

Here are six steps, adapted from Ambrose et al. How Learning Works, you can take to better understand your students’ prior knowledge

Small Group Discussions

Low-structure teaching methods can leave some learners behind and hinder participation. Adding structure to each lesson, each week, and the course, enables a more inclusive learning experience for all your students.

Adding structure to small groups/small classes

  • Take time to teach students how to participate in small groups
  • Assign and rotate roles
  • Provide clear instructions on a screen or worksheet

Three Examples of Activities for Small Groups

Note that these work well in online learning as well as in face-to-face formats.


  • Get comfortable with the silence so that all students have the time they need to think
  • “I’ll give you two minutes to think or write silently, and then I’ll prompt you to pair up with your classmates.”

Source: VIJI SATHY and KELLY A. HOGAN, Want to Reach All of Your Students? Here’s How to Make Your Teaching More Inclusive July 2019


Answer a question in the full group. One person can record the answers. You can optionally arrange the list into two or more categories to get at higher order thinking.
Example Question: What does a plant need to survive?
Categories: abiotic vs. biotic factors.


  • Elicits responses and aggregates them into a single list
  • Provides an overview of the group’s collective knowledge
  • By categorizing, students must evaluate how well they understand the role of each response in a specific context

Source: Jo Handelsman; Sarah Miller; Christine Pfund, Scientific Teaching, Wisconsin Program for Scientific Teaching, W.H. Freeman & Co, [2007]

Mini Mind Map

Arrange the following terms in a logical order. Explain (using arrows or words) how the terms relate to each other.
Example terms: tRNA, DNA, protein, mRNA, amino acid, translation, transcription, replication, and promoter.

Objectives: Mini-maps engage students in developing a non-verbal representation of a concept. The process of developing a visual arrangement requires students to evaluate different ways that terms can relate to each other and to appreciate that a biological process (or economic one, or historical one, or theatrical one) may not be unidirectional or linear.

Source: Jo Handelsman; Sarah Miller; Christine Pfund, Scientific Teaching, Wisconsin Program for Scientific Teaching, W.H. Freeman & Co, [2007]

Documenting and Measuring your inclusive efforts

  1. Document your efforts
  2. Survey the students
  3. Ask a colleague to observe your class
  4. Collect data on student learning through the AART dashboard in NYU Classes

Teaching with Technology

Humans are crucial to inclusive teaching, and using tech successfully in the classroom starts with relationships.

Bryan Dewsbury, Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Rhode Island.

There are extensive resources available across the NYU Global Network with tutorials on how to deploy online tools for the remote delivery of your course. Below are some useful likes to tutorials and further resources.

Technology tools can help organize course materials, student ideation, and assessment. NYU Abu Dhabi uses the learning management system, NYU Classes to help you organize your course. Inside this tool there are messaging features, assignment submission pages, a Chat Room tool, Discussion Forum, and a Resources folder. Together, these folders can help you to organise a “Lesson” folder where all the materials for a given week are in one place for your students.

For remote instruction options we deploy Zoom for live small group discussions, small break out groups, and recording and transcribing lectures.
There are extensive resources available on how to deploy Zoom for learning.

Here are a series of tutorials on how to use Zoom and its many features:

It is important to inform yourself about privacy features and safety features of using Zoom.

Additional Resources