top of page

Standing the Test of Time and Technology: 7 Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

Amy Gross, PhD

In 1987 Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson published a manuscript summarizing what they believed the research told us about teaching and learning, suggesting that these key principles could guide improvement in undergraduate education. The 7 Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education has served as a cornerstone for much of my professional work and reflection about improving student learning. Although the principles were first published more than 25 years ago, they continue to stand the test of time (for example see Seifert, Pascarella, Goodman, Salisbury, & Blaich, 2010).

As a reminder (or perhaps an introduction), good practice in undergraduate education:

  1. Encourages contact between students and faculty.

  2. Develops reciprocity and 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.

About 10 years after the initial Chickering and Gamson article, Chickering and Stephen Ehrmann wrote a manuscript, Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever (1996). As we continue to be bombarded by new and upgraded technology tools, we have to remember to be purposeful in why we choose various tools and how we use them to facilitate student learning – not just because they are the newest, coolest thing. The 7 Principles can serve as a framework for us to ground our usage of technology – and to help students reflect on how they use their technology tools to support their own learning. One only needs to search for “7 principles of undergraduate education and technology” to discover a myriad of recent articles using the framework as a conceptual basis for their research.

I was excited to see a keynote address of the Lilly Conference for Teaching and Learning in Greensboro, NC focus on the 7 Principles framework in their session, Strategies for Effective Technology and Integration into Any Course: Aligning Content Knowledge, Pedagogy, and Technology (facilitated by Todd Zakrajsek, Jane Harris, and Rob Owens). They have posted a number of resources related to the integrating technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge. I would encourage you to take a few minutes to visit their site to stimulate your own creative ideas about how you are applying the 7 principles to support student learning in your own teaching and technology use.

References and Resources

Chickering, A. & Ehrmann, S.C. (1996). Implementing the seven principles: Technology as lever. American Association for Higher Education Bulletin, October, pp. 3­-6.

Chickering, A. W. & Gamson, Z. (1987). Seven principles of good practice in undergraduate education. American Association for Higher Education Bulletin, 39, 3­7.

Seifert, T.A., Pascarella, E.T., Goodman, K.M., Salisbury, M.H., & Blaich, C.F. (2010). Liberal arts colleges and good practices in undergraduate education: Additional evidence. Journal of College Student Development, 51(1), 1­22.

Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Teaching Excellence have an excellent Online Teaching and Learning Resource Guide with a section devoted to the 7 Principles for Good Practice in Online Education, including links to specific scenarios for each of the 7 principles.

49 views0 comments


bottom of page