About

Bio

Derek Bruff is director of the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching and a principal senior lecturer in the Vanderbilt Department of Mathematics. As director, he oversees the Center’s programming and offerings for faculty and graduate students, helping them develop foundational teaching skills and explore new ideas in teaching and learning. He also consults regularly with campus leaders about pedagogical issues, seeking to foster a university culture that supports effective teaching.

Bruff’s scholarly interests include educational technology, faculty development, and visual thinking. He writes about these topics on his blog, Agile Learning, and his second book, Intentional Tech: Principles to Guide the Use of Educational Technology in College Teaching, will be published in 2019 by West Virginia University Press. His first book, Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments, was published by Jossey-Bass in 2009. Bruff is also producer and host of the podcasts Leading Lines, VandyVox, and One-Time Pod.

Bruff served on the board of directors of the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network from 2010 to 2013. He also served as co-PI from 2013 to 2018 on a National Science Foundation grant supporting two open, online courses on evidence-based teaching practices for future STEM faculty. Bruff has taught at Harvard University and has a PhD in mathematics from Vanderbilt University.

About This Site

This is my blog, where I write about topics that interest me: educational technology, visual thinking, student motivation, faculty development, how people learn, social media, and more. I started blogging back in 2008 with a blog focused on teaching with classroom response systems (“clickers”). I had just finished writing my book on that subject, and I wanted to continue exploring the topic. The blog gave me a venue for doing so, one that invited colleagues new and old to share ideas and perspectives. After two years of blogging about classroom response systems, I started writing about other topics, as well. As a result, this blog has become what Gardner Campbell calls my “personal cyberinfrastructure,” a platform for sharing and organizing what I’m learning and representing myself to the world.

Why “Agile Learning”?

When talking to faculty about their teaching, I often use the phrase “agile teaching” to describe a certain kind of on-the-fly responsiveness to student learning needs in the classroom. In the educational development work I do, helping faculty and graduate students to become more reflective and intentional teachers, I find that I need a similar kind of agility. I never know what resources, ideas, or experiences I’ll be called upon to share with a colleague as we talk about teaching. As a result, I find myself learning about all sorts of things that might come in handy in a consultation or workshop one day. This blog is where I make sense of these things and document what I’ve learned for later use. So, in a sense, it’s a record of the “agile learning” I do as part of my professional life.

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of my employer Vanderbilt University.