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Milestone Documents Hosts Case On Discussion-Based Teaching

DALLAS, March 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Milestone Documents ( is helping educators find new teaching models by publishing a case study that explores history professor Pam Laird's student-led discussion method. Available on the Milestone Documents website, "Creating Active Learners at the University of Colorado Denver" ( describes Laird's powerful alternative to the traditional lecture format and its impact on student development. It is the fourth in a series of cases sponsored by Milestone Documents that aim to inspire new teaching methods for a new generation of students.

"We're seeing a pattern in the faculty who adopt Milestone Documents: they are open to change and tend to experiment with teaching methods to produce the best results in students," said Neil Schlager, founder and president of Milestone Documents. "Higher education is at a crossroads, and we're delighted to showcase alternative methods that are helping drive a new future. Professor Laird's classroom is a particularly compelling view of what education can be."

Laird's alternative is a modified Socratic method that focuses heavily on classroom discussion to develop rich critical thinking skills and deliver the kind of engagement that challenges all levels of students. In keeping with Milestone Documents' core strength, analysis of primary documents is a key component, and the case explores Laird's careful selection of classroom resources that bolster student understanding of these key works. Milestone Documents ( is a unique online service that is part document reader and part historical analyst, all packaged within framing content that's akin to what a traditional textbook would include. Laird was initially attracted by the service's price – less than $20 for a full semester of unlimited student access – but her commitment to Milestone Documents was clinched by its support for both student and teacher. Its digital format provides flexibility and an extraordinary range of documents to choose from (the growing collection currently stands at 1,400). The case details student response to the format and the analyses that enable students to decipher the historical impact of the documents.

The case also provides guidance on other mechanics of Laird's method, including tips on getting students to lead discussions, unique term papers that inspire deeper thinking, and a "final discussion" that provides a fresh alternative to the traditional final exam.

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