More than 30 years on, Chickering and Gamson’s Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education remains a valuable resource for college faculty members as they prepare for a new semester. This monograph serves as a framework for successful student learning by examining seven different aspects of teaching. As the authors state, good practice:

  1. Encourages student-faculty contact
  2. Encourages cooperation among students
  3. Encourages active learning
  4. Gives prompt feedback
  5. Emphasizes time on task
  6. Communicates high expectations
  7. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning

Let’s Talk Teaching, the podcast produced by the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, has explored many of these topics in depth. CTLT’s short audio episodes can help you prepare for the coming semester, offering ideas on how to apply these practices to your courses.

The Magnificent Seven (An Introduction)

Like the 60s western of the same name, this “Magnificent Seven” is a classic. Hosts Claire Lamonica and Jim Gee discuss the Seven Principles of for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. Nearly 30 years later, this short essay continues to be one of the best foundations for any college-level teaching experience. Whether you’re a new face to teaching or a grizzled veteran of the classroom, Chickering & Gamson’s work is a must-read (or re-read) for any university instructor.

Visit this episode’s show page for references and additional links.


Most teachers will tell you that group work, done well, is important to student success. But just how do you pull it off?

Claire and Jim explore the differences between cooperation and collaboration in the classroom. Claire shares her experience designing group-related learning activities, and she gives us her take on whether it’s better to let students pick groups, pick groups for them, or leave it to random chance.

Visit this episode’s show page for references and additional links.

Prompt Feedback

It’s the episode we’ve put off doing for far, far too long! Claire and Jim explore the need to provide prompt feedback in our teaching… and why that’s a challenge for many of us. These two confessed procrastinators highlight ways to encourage students to provide meaningful feedback to their peers and themselves. Find out how study groups, rubrics, and self-evaluations all play a role in supporting this important teaching practice.

Visit the show page for the episode for references and additional links.

Time on Task

Surveys show our students spend more time learning outside the classroom than we think… but it is enough? Explore the concept of “time on task” and how we can help our students engage with meaningful learning.  We’ll look at the age-old vicious cycle of lecture and reading assignments, other ways to encourage students to come to class prepared, and how and why you might hold students accountable for their learning.

Visit this episode’s show page for references and additional links.

Great Expectations

Communicating high expectations to students requires both clarity and empathy. It can sometimes be a difficult juggling act. We explore ways to incorporate one of the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education into your teaching. Discover some of the pitfalls and the great promise in rethinking how you challenge students to excel in their learning. Claire and Jim also discuss ways to help students get back on track when they don’t meet your expectations.

Visit this episode’s show page for references and additional links.

Diverse Learners

We present our final in-depth look at the 7 Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education with a discussion about meeting the needs of diverse learners. Claire and Jim (and Jim’s obnoxious summer cold) begin with the problem of categorizing students as “visual” or “auditory” learners– tired old concepts with little utility. They explore alternatives and look for ways to make at least some aspect of assignments multi-modal, to allow students to play to their strengths. Claire also explains the virtue of pushing students past their comfort zones.

Visit this episode’s show page for references and additional links.

About the show

Let’s Talk Teaching is a free podcast for instructors at Illinois State University. You can listen to past episodes and subscribe using your favorite podcast app or through iTunes by going to

A captioned version of the podcast series is available through the listening help page.

Do you have a topic you’d like to hear explored on the show? Email us with your suggestions!