Mid-Semester Doldrums? Get Active (Learning)!

This fall, we’re using the CNDLS blog to highlight the Teaching Commons, a compilation of resources and case studies designed to help faculty revitalize their courses and gain insights into practical issues in pedagogy at Georgetown. As a living resource, the site continually evolves to encompass new scholarship in teaching and learning, as well as technological innovations that are changing and enhancing the current teaching landscape. To help you explore all that the Commons has to offer, we’re showcasing tools and other information on a semi-weekly basis, guiding you through the semester in real time. Missed the other posts? Check out our takes on crafting a syllabus, starting the semester, leading discussions, evaluating learning, and designing assignments, then hear from fellow faculty in our interview highlights.


With the rush of the first week of classes well behind us and still a long way to go until finals, you may be experiencing a mid-semester slump—and if you are, your students probably are, too. It may be that the whole class has fallen into a predictable routine.

One solution is to shake things up with active learning. Instead of you talking and your students listening, engage them in a more dynamic process that involves them directly. What if students led some class sessions? Would role playing help them understand and internalize the points in a different way? Could they analyze some true-to-life case studies to apply learning the way professionals do? Would small group conversations elicit broader participation and introduce fresh ideas to the larger group? Not only do these kinds of methods wake everybody up, they also lead to consistently more robust learning than a passive model. If you’re interested in more suggestions, Active Learning on the Teaching Commons is full of ideas to get you started.

If you’re inspired to put active learning to use in the classroom—or if you’ve already perfected activities on this front—let us know how they work for you! And, as always, for any questions about any teaching approaches, get in touch and let us know how we can help.