This is a selection of books featured in past weekly and monthly emails that we at Teaching Matters recommend for professors looking to hone their thinking about teaching. Many of these links lead directly to freely available ebooks.

What the Best College Professors Do is the culmination of over a decade of research into the nature of best practices in teaching. Author Ken Bain gives insight into the nature of learning, using both the data collected in his research and anecdotes from the classroom.

Joseph Williams and Joseph Bizup give practical, effective advice to both beginning and established writers in Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace. This is an excellent book to assign in writing-intensive courses across the curriculum.

The National Academies Press’ How People Learn, available in electronic form, presents research-based principles on how students receive and process information.

Graff, Birkenstein and Durst’s They Say, I Say is a required text in Rutgers-Camden’s Composition 102 classes and a useful one across the disciplines in teaching academic argumentation.

In How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching Carnegie Mellon’s Ambrose et. al. give practical advice on topics such as knowledge transfer between courses and student motivation.

James Lang’s new book on cheating, Cheating Lessons: Learning From Academic Dishonestyreviewed by Daniel Luzer.

Reconnecting Reading and Writing is a new collection of essays edited by Alice S. Horning and Elizabeth W. Kraemer that focuses on the role of reading in teaching students to write. Chapters include an overview of writing and reading programs internationally as well as writing in the digital age.

Computers and Composition Digital Press has a free ebook on the topic of the assessment and evaluation of digital writing, edited by Heidi A. McKee and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss.

Making Space for Creativity is the story of a journey…The book emerged out of the experience and research of the staff, students, and wider education and business community who have engaged with the activities of the University of Brighton’s ‘Creativity Centre’ during the past five years. It offers an accumulation of thoughts, ideas, observations, practical methods, suggestions, and questions from a lived experience.

Eight Essential Questions Teachers Ask: A Guidebook for Communicating with Students, by Deanna Dannels, acknowledges and addresses the essential questions and concerns that emerge for teachers in all stages of development. Using a narrative style that incorporates actual voices of teachers, this book offers readers relevant research, peer mentoring, communication-focused recommendations, and reflective practice opportunities. This unique resource provides useful strategies for addressing communication questions that emerge in the teacher development process. (Oxford 2014) 

Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters – Contentious debates over the benefits—or drawbacks—of a liberal education are as old as America itself. From Benjamin Franklin to the Internet pundits, critics of higher education have attacked its irrelevance and elitism—often calling for more vocational instruction. Thomas Jefferson, by contrast, believed that nurturing a student’s capacity for lifelong learning was useful for science and commerce while also being essential for democracy. In this provocative contribution to the disputes, University president Michael S. Roth focuses on important moments and seminal thinkers in America’s long-running argument over vocational vs. liberal education. (Yale 2014)

Stylish Academic Writing: Elegant data and ideas deserve elegant expression, argues Helen Sword in this lively guide to academic writing. For scholars frustrated with disciplinary conventions, and for specialists who want to write for a larger audience but are unsure where to begin, here are imaginative, practical, witty pointers that show how to make articles and books a pleasure to read—and to write. (Harvard 2012)


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