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This content is taken from the University of Padova's online course, Innovative Teaching: Engaging Adult Learners with Active Learning. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Hi, I’m Monica Fedeli from University of Padua and my colleague to the left, it is Ed Taylor from Penn State University and now working at the University of Padua. Along with Laura Bierema from the University of Georgia who can’t be here today, we welcome you to this new MOOC titled Innovative teaching engaging adult learners with active learning. We are really excited that you are participating and we hope you’ll find this MOOC enjoyable and also informative when it comes to learning about innovative teaching and learning in adult in higher education. Monica, Laura and I have a great passion for teaching and are always seeking ways to make teaching more engaging for learners.

Skip to 1 minute and 3 seconds In this course we introduce you to a new way of teaching, active learning, that is based on the importance of connecting student experience to the classroom topic, striving to create more authentic settings using a holistic approach to teaching, engaging all the senses and striving to be more learning centered with students while in the classroom. The course, like all MOOCs, are a work in progress. So as you take this course, please let us know what’s been helpful as well as recommendations for improvement. All the best. Ed, Monica and Laura.

Meet the team of educators

Let’s get introduced!

Laura Birema

I’m Laura Birema, a professor of adult learning, leadership, and organization development at the University of Georgia, USA. I am a certified master executive coach and have published widely on topics of adult learning, leadership, eMentoring, and organization development.

Work as an educator is a tremendous privilege; I get to help others learn and transform so that they can make impact in their world! Creating expert facilitators of learning and change is my joy. Teaching is a creative, challenging quest and I love it!

My passions: Being near the shoreline, especially Lake Michigan. Playing with my golden retrievers who love to chase balls on the beach. Cooking vegetarian food, especially mastering my latest project of sourdough backing. Riding my bike, drinking wine, and reading great books are favorite activities.

Two of my favorite quotes:

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” –Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard writes beautifully about writing and I especially resonate with her insight that it is the little acts we take and choices we make daily that compose our lives. Her sentiment also reminds me of my father who used to remark “We are making memories today.” Seize the moment, be your best, and learn continuously.

“Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” –Rep. John Lewis, U.S. Congress

Representative John Lewis was a public servant who dedicated his life to fighting for racial justice and equality in the US. His activism and willingness to risk inspires me daily, particularly in the face of poor leadership and badly planned and implemented change.

I look forward to working and learning with you!


Edward Taylor

I am Edward Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Lifelong Learning and Adult Education from Penn State University-Harrisburg, USA. I was formerly a public-school teacher and outdoor adventure educator, and as a professor, I have written extensively on transformative learning theory and teaching strategies that help facilitate change.

I am presently working in Italy as a frequent visiting professor at the University of Padova (UNIPD), teaching and offering workshops at UNIPD and other universities on innovative teaching and learning in adult and higher education.

My passions: Spending time sailing, traveling in Europe and struggling with the learning a new language.

When I think about teaching and learning I think about relationships. I believe it is through genuine relationships with students that provides the essential foundation for effective teaching and learning in the classroom


Monica Fedeli

I’m Monica Fedeli, a professor of teaching and learning at University of Padova. I’m also in charge of faculty development in my University; in 2016, I started a project for promoting innovative teaching and learning called Teaching4Learning@Unipd. https://www.unipd.it/teaching4learning Being an educator is the best work in the world! I like my job and investing time in thinking how people can learn better. This is the question I answer myself every time I start to get prepared for the class and meet learners.

My passions: I love the sea and sailing, reading love stories and books on politics, watching romantic movies, wine, cooking, and spending time with friends! I love Umbria, the place where I’m from, especially its landscape and closeness to nature.

Two of my favorite quotes:

“I cannot be a teacher without exposing who I am.” –Paulo Freire

Paulo Freire is one of my favorite educators, and in this quote, I like how he underlies that being an educator entails self-disclosure and developing an authentic relationship with the learners.

“Teaching is the highest form of understanding.” –Aristotle

Teaching is much more than simply knowing. To be able to teach is a real rare skill that can be developed, trained, and improved. Knowing something very well doesn’t mean being able to teach this. There is more work to do when you teach, and this is the most exciting part of this job.


Now it’s your turn to introduce yourself.

In the comments below, tell us a little about yourself. Where do you come from and what do you like to do? What are your passions? Favorite quotes? What do you love about being an educator and education in general?

We wish you all a great start!

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This video is from the free online course:

Innovative Teaching: Engaging Adult Learners with Active Learning

University of Padova