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Course Incubator

A particular area of focus has been the Course Incubator, a Pitt initiative to promote innovation among faculty who teach large enrollment classes. The program launched in 2018 with projects in three departments – Biology, Chemistry, and Economics. The goal of the projects is to increase student engagement by incorporating active learning strategies and improve learning gains.

For more information about these and other studies, please take a look at the bibliography below.

Student from behind showing hands on keyboard of open laptop and Zoom meeting on the screen.

LRDC Partnership

The Teaching Center has partnered with Pitt’s Learning Research and Development Center to conduct research and quality improvement studies on innovative teaching practices in higher education. LRDC senior scientists, postdoctoral researchers, and Teaching Center staff have collaborated on a number of projects focusing on educational technology, online learning, active learning, and high enrollment classes. One of LRDC’s focal research areas is College and Pre-College Teaching and Learning.

Participants in these studies have included Pitt undergraduates in large enrollment introductory classes, Pitt instructors experimenting with new technologies, and mid-career learners enrolled in Pitt’s massive open online courses hosted on the Coursera platform.


Scholarship of
Teaching and Learning

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) starts with good teaching that is guided by evidence-based best practices and goes beyond to include systematic inquiry, research-informed experimentation, data collection, reflective observation, and public communication. Faculty who engage in SoTL activities do so not only to improve their own teaching but also to enrich the profession.

Publications and Presentations


Baikadi, A., Demmans Epps, C., & Schunn, C. D. (2018). Participating by activity or by week in MOOCs. Information and Learning Science. 119(9/10), 572-585.

Baikadi, A., Schunn, C. D., Long, Y., & Demmans Epp, C. (2016). Redefining “what” in analyses of who does what in MOOCs. In Barnes, T., Chi, M., & Feng, M. (Eds.). Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Educational Data Mining, 569-570. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 592609).

Berenbrok, L., Ciemniecki, L., Cremeans, A., Albright, R., & Mormer, E. (2021). Pharmacist competencies for over-the-counter hearing aids: A Delphi study. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.

Coulter, R. W. S., Colvin, S., Onufer, L. R., Arnold, G., Akiva, T., D’Ambrogi, E., & Davis, V. (2020). Training pre-service teachers to better serve LGBTQ high school students. Journal of Education for Teaching, 47(2), 234-254. (NOTE: To access this content, you must be logged in or log into the University Library System.)

Coulter RWS, Onufer L. Using Student-Led Discussions and Snapshot Lectures to Stimulate Active Learning and Accountability: A Mixed Methods Study on Teaching an Implementation Science Course. Pedagogy in Health Promotion. October 2021. doi:10.1177/23733799211050088

Demmans Epp, C., Mancilla, R., & Swigart, V. (2018). Language MOOCs: Assessing student knowledge and comprehension of clinical terminology. In Link, S. & Li, J. (Eds.). Assessment across online language education, (pp. 71-90). Sheffield, United Kingdom: Equinox Publishing.

Lesgold, A. (in press) James G. Greeno (1935-2020). American Psychologist. Doi:

Mancilla, R., & Frey, B. (2020). A model for developing instructional design professionals for higher education through apprenticeship: Blending theory and practice. Journal of Applied Instructional Design, 9(2).

Mancilla, R., & Frey, B. (2020). Administrative Supports for Digital Accessibility: Policies and Processes [White paper]. Quality Matters. [ PDF 805 KB ]

Mancilla, R., & Frey, B. (2021). Course design for digital accessibility: Best practices and tools [White paper]. Quality Matters. [ PDF 891 KB ]

Mancilla, R., & Frey, B. (2021). Professional development for digital accessibility: A needs assessment [White paper]. Quality Matters. [ PDF 892 KB ]

Mann, J., Parish, M.J., Kroh, M., & Bridges, M.W. (2021). Flipping the classroom: Using video to enhance first-year undergraduates’ cultural competency. In D.S.P. Gedera, & A Zalipour (Eds.), Video pedagogy: Theory and practice (pp. 63-82).  Springer Nature.

Miller-Cotto, D. & Schunn, C. (2020). Mind the gap: How a large-scale course re-design in economics reduced performance gaps. The Journal of Experimental Education.

Pokorny, R.A., Lesgold, A. M., Haynes, J.A., & Holt, L.S., (in press). Expert policy capture for assessing performance in simulation-based training and games. In H. F. O’Neil, E. L. Baker, R. S. Perez, & S. E. Watson (Eds.). Using cognitive and affective metrics in education-based simulations and games (Vol. 2). New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor and Francis.


Cavanaugh, T., Fritz, J., and Golden, C. (June 29, 2020). Meeting the challenges of remote assessment [Video]. EDUCAUSE Review.

Dobreva, B. & Onufer, L. (2019, October). Towards a collaborative, flexible approach to online course design and development: Opportunities, challenges, and future directions. Presentation delivered at the 2019 UPCEA Mid-Atlantic Region Conference, Pittsburgh, PA.

Frey, B., & Drozd, L. (November 2020). Best Practices in Quality Asynchronous and Synchronous Courses. Quality Matters Webinar.

Golden, C., Kovalchick, A. and Suess, J. (April 13, 2020). Insights gained from pandemic response [Video]. EDUCAUSE Review.

Golden, C., Suess, J., Francis, P. & Roman, M. (October, 2020). hat or Who: The Integrative CIO. EDUCAUSE 2020 Annual Conference.

Kearns, L. R. (2019, March). The Course Incubator: Academic transformation in large enrollment courses. Poster presentation at the 2019 Pittsburgh Regional Faculty Symposium, Pittsburgh, PA.

Kearns, L. R. (2019, October). The Course Incubator: Academic transformation in large enrollment courses. Poster presentation at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2019, Chicago, IL.

Mancilla, R., & Frey, B. (November 2020). Benchmarking digital accessibility policies and practices. Accessible Learning Conference. Michigan State University, Lansing, MI.

Miller-Cotto, D., & Schunn, C.D. (2018, June). Examining flipping in a calculus class: Does it work, and for whom? Poster presented to the International Workshop on Advanced Learning Sciences 2018, Pittsburgh, PA.

Muñoz, L. (November 2020). Managing an Equitable Transition to Online Teaching: A Roundtable Discussion with the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges. Raising Our Voices, Virtual event by the American Anthropological Association.

Muñoz, L., Rush, J., & Walker, T. (November 2020). Poster session: Listening to Our Students: Undergrads and Grads Adjust to Remote Learning. POD Network 45th Annual Conference.

Plenn, E.R., Corey, S., Roig, A., Routh, N., Henderson, E., Chugani, C., Egan, J., Onufer, L., Miller, E., Coulter, R. W. S. (2020, March). Going the extra mile: A social ecological understanding of how high school staff support, protect, and care for LGBTQ students. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting, San Diego, CA.

Rowland, C., Walker, T., & Onufer, L. (2019, November). Meeting faculty where they are: Tailoring learning communities to meet niche needs. Presentation delivered at the 44th Annual Professional and Organizational Development in Higher Education Conference, Pittsburgh, PA.

Votodian, L., (August 2020) Panel Discussion – COVID-19 Impact on Course Evaluations – Policy, Process, People. Bluenotes Global 2020 Virtual Conference.

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