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Innovative Teaching Methods for Large Classes Bates Wolfe UKZN
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Innovative Teaching Methods for Large Classes Bates Wolfe UKZN


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Slides from two workshops given during visit to UKZN 16th-20th May 2011. …

Slides from two workshops given during visit to UKZN 16th-20th May 2011.

Presented by: Simon Bates, Lorne Wolfe

Published in: Education, Technology

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  • 1. Innovative Teaching Methods for Large Undergraduate Classes Simon Bates Lorne Wolfe Edinburgh University, UK Georgia Southern University, USA May 2011Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 2. Who am I? • BSc – McGill; MSc – Toronto; PhD – Illinois • Postdocs: California (UCSB); ! ! Hebrew University (Israel) • GSU (1995) – diverse student body (like UKZN) • UKZN (Sabbatical 2007) • Research: Evolutionary Ecology • Teach: – Biology majors and graduate students – Non-majors (core): Environmental BiologySunday, 22 May 2011
  • 3. Who am I? BA (Cambridge) PhD (Manchester) Postdocs in the Netherlands & England Academic posts in Edinburgh (Chemistry) 97-98 Dublin (Chemistry and Physics) 98-99 Edinburgh (Physics) 2000- Research: * Physics Education Research * Atomistic simulation of materials / liquids Teaching (currently): * Year 1 ‘Foundations of Physics’ course * Year 4 projects / education projects Admin / management: DoT (2006-9) DoLT (2010-)Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 4. Group discussion: You set the agenda by telling us what you think are the key challenges for teaching large classes. (Break into groups of 4-5, mixed disciplines 5 minutes discussion then feedback in plenary)Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 5. Feedback points – Durban Language issue (1) – not unique to language (poor skills) Passive student – don’t ask questions Students don’t take responsibility for own learning Lecture notes – provide? How detailed? When provided? Technology – good, bad and ugly Laptops in lecture Attendance? (no) How to break into small groups? Venues not conducive.Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 6. Feedback points – Durban How to motivate students in dry subject Student:Lecture ratio (needs Tas) Resources for additional time students need Variation in the level of interest in course Venues (size, climate); Demonstrators Admin and Logistics of assessment (MCQ) Crowd control stop and wait till they shut up, split up the talkers threaten to leave, identify student, respond by talking softer settling down time (constant distraction)Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 7. Feedback points: Pietermaritzburg Administration and organisation of large classes. Field trips. “Teaching them is the easy part” Student attitudes to learning; making it relevant (L) Short attention span. Distraction / multimedia, but can / should capitalize on that? (Multimode lectures: S ) Asking / encouraging questions. Cultural? (S) •Differentiation in mixed ability classes •Assessment and feedback; impracticalities in large classes •Language and comprehension: including native speakers •Expectations of studying / life at university •‘Knowing your students’ How to do this in a large courseSunday, 22 May 2011
  • 8. May  4,  2011Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 9. More is not Better Skills > ContentSunday, 22 May 2011
  • 10. Content Coverage vs. Mastery Amount retained Students retain ~ 5% of the material in a course after the final exam Amount of material presented Identify key concepts!! Less is more.Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 11. The Large Class Becomes Small Engaging 300 like 50Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 12. A Successful Lecture 1. Relevant 2. Informative 3. Dynamic 4. Challenging 5. EntertainingSunday, 22 May 2011
  • 13. Big Class Dynamics 1. There really is no difference between a large and small classroom if you approach it properly. – Do the same things as you do in small class • Start with ‘Good Morning’ • They will automatically be actively engaged • Move around the classroom • Group discussions: you visit groups - give them tips and challenge themSunday, 22 May 2011
  • 14. Get to know individual students Connect with individuals and the group will follow. Before class, each do go to a different part of the room. “Good morning. What’s your name? How are things going?Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 15. But there is no way I can remember more than 3 names!Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 16. Extra-Credit Discussions • Pose a thought question – What goes into making the pair of jeans you are wearing? – What is the relationship between a revolution in Libya and how much you pay for a liter of gasoline? – Would you prefer to live next to a coal-burning power plant or a nuclear plant?Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 17. Think - Pair - Share DebriefSunday, 22 May 2011
  • 18. Extra-Credit Discussions • Group discussion: 4-5 students; 5 minutes • Write answer on sheet with all names • Whole class discussion (with microphone) • Each student present receives 1 pointSunday, 22 May 2011
  • 19. Using  the  Data!Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 20. UKZN Challenges 1. Very large classes 2. Students vary in ability 3. Diverse cultural and demographic body 4. English not first language 5. Therefore, variable preparedness for university 6. Home life separate from science • Must make it relevantSunday, 22 May 2011
  • 21. The Role of the 1st Year Course 1. To prepare students for upper level courses 2. The conundrum: tools vs. details • Details can be googled • Tools are for life • Requires setting learning outcomes for the entire curriculum. • What do you expect students to know coming out of the freshman class for your upper level course? • Requires faculty-wide agreement on goals and strategies. • Need honest evaluation of what is and what isSunday, 22 May 2011
  • 22. Main Goal of 1st Year Course 1. Provide students with ability to become effective learners ! - to handle information ! - to ask the right questions to inform their own learning • What skills do they need? • Basic mathematics • How to read and understand • Curiosity and a desire to learn • Get them excited!Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 23. Wolfe Env. Bio. Fall 2002 Total/400 By ExtraCredit 400 350 Total/400 300 250 How  to  improve   200 0 5 10 15 ExtraCredit 20 25 Linear Fit Linear Fit Total/400 = 258.782 + 4.83538 ExtraCredit Extra credit Summary of Fit RSquare RSquare Adj 0.273333 0.270227 Root Mean Square Error 34.07154 Mean of Response 313.8559 Observations (or Sum Wgts) 236 – 400 + 20 pts Analysis of Variance Source DF Sum of Squares Mean Square F Ratio – attendance data Model Error 1 234 102177.59 271643.52 102178 1161 88.0181 Prob>F C Total 235 373821.10 <.0001 Parameter Estimates Term Estimate Std Error t Ratio Prob>|t| Intercept 258.7818 6.275314 41.24 <.0001 ExtraCredit 4.8353773 0.5154 9.38 <.0001Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 24.  Language Challenges 1. Have students pair up with another student or quickly gather into ! small groups to explain concepts or figure out a problem. Peers ! often can find ways to explain things to ESL students that we ! have trouble explaining. 2. Pace your speech. Pauses help students assimilate and understand ! what is being discussed. Short sentences helps as well. 3. Encourage the use of gestures and visuals to illustrate key ! points and concepts. 4. Humor gets lost in translation. 5. If possible, incorporate phrases in students native language ! to help them connect more with an English word or phrase 6. Record (podcast) the lecture to let non-native speakers review asSunday, 22 May they want 2011
  • 25. ATHERTON J S (2010) Learning and Teaching; Lectures [On-line] UK: Available: lecture.htmSunday, 22 May 2011
  • 26. Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 27. Interac0vity…the  essen0al   ingredient “    The  complex  cogni/ve  skills  required  to   understand  Physics  cannot  be  developed  by   listening  to  lectures…        …  any  more  than  one  can  learn  to  play  tennis   by  watching  tennis  matches.”      Hestenes,  D.  Am.  J.  Phys.,  66,  465-­‐7  (1998)Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 28. “Lectures (in physics) can be incredibly passive experiences for students, particularly dangerous for those who believe that if they follow the professor, they’ve mastered the material”Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 29. Interactive engagement with clickersSunday, 22 May 2011
  • 30. Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 31. Underpinned College Learning and Teaching strategy ‘Loanership’ of 3000 handsets Wide range of disciplines Science, Eng,Vet. Med.Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 32. 34Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 33.    Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 34. Use  scenarios  (3)   • Peer  Instruc0on   – Ques0on   – Individual  poll – Students  discuss – Repoll  Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 35. Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 36. The Evolution of a Research Talk at 3 Chinese UniversitiesSunday, 22 May 2011
  • 37. The SQ3R • Survey – overall idea of what you will study before you begin (roadmap) • Question – ask yourself questions (what, how, why, when?); benefit from making up the question and the answer • Read – don’t just run eyes over text; answer your questions; attention to tables, graphs, bold/italicized text • Recite – stop reading, recall what you have read; use your own words, connect new to old knowledge • Review-reread notes immediately after and then before next class; info moves to long-term memory; reduces time needed to study before examSunday, 22 May 2011
  • 38. We  need  something  ‘in  conclusion’  or  to  sum   up.  Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 39. Sugges0on   Follow  on  discussion  via  email  list  aGer  this   workshop:      enrol  par0cipants,  presenters   share  ideas,  successes,  failures  ?Sunday, 22 May 2011
  • 40. Student Tips to New Prof in Big Class   Imagine you are teaching a class of 10 Get to know the students (on their level). Talk about what is related to them and could affect them. Make students feel comfortable. Treat them like family Make them feel like you care about them   Don’t be afraid to cuss. Just be yourself. Don’t just stand there and read ppt slides Don’t be monotone. Act like you want to be there then we will want to   Be entertaining and funny. If college kids are bored we do not learn.   No need to be cookie cutter. Make your course memorable. Move around and engage students Do activities students like   Its ok to make us laugh. Talk to us about more than lectures. Share past life experiences.   Not everyone learns the same so find different ways to make your class interact Ask questions they can discuss in groups Get the stick our of your ass and have fun teachingSunday, 22 May 2011