Spice up your lecture with Inquiry-based Learning
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Spice up your lecture with Inquiry-based Learning



This presentation is a part of ICPSR's monthly Webinar series. It describes inquiry-based learning and how using data in the college classroom can help foster deeper learning. TeachingWithData.org, ...

This presentation is a part of ICPSR's monthly Webinar series. It describes inquiry-based learning and how using data in the college classroom can help foster deeper learning. TeachingWithData.org, a repository of social science materials, was introduced.



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  • Skills listed in report of the Wingspread Conference (1994) which included leaders of state and federal governments and representatives of industry, higher education, accreditation organizations, and philanthropic groups.

Spice up your lecture with Inquiry-based Learning Spice up your lecture with Inquiry-based Learning Presentation Transcript

  • Spice Up Your Lecture With Inquiry-based Learning
    Lynette Hoelter, PhD
    Dir., Instructional Resources
    February 23, 2011
  • Presentation Outline:
    Defining inquiry-based learning
    Problem-based learning
    Benefits to use
    Introducing TeachingWithData.org
    Resources within TwDthat fit the student-driven approach to learning
    Other pedagogical approaches: Pedagogy in Action server
  • What is Inquiry-based Learning?
    Part of the “Problem-based Learning” (PBL) set of pedagogies1
    Case-based learning
    Project-based learning
    Inquiry-based learning
    Notion that education begins and is fostered through student curiosity
    First documented uses were in medical education in the 1970s
    Expanded into professional education and then undergraduate curricula
    1Savery, John R. 2006. Overview of Problem-based Learning. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, v1(1):9-20.
  • Benefits of PBL
    Assessment of traditional versus PBL strategies show:
    No significant differences in learning of “facts”
    Lends itself better to multidisciplinary approaches
    Within social sciences, this might also mean integration of “technical” and “substantive” information.
    Learners much more engaged with material
    More likely to see relevance to their lives and work
    More easily able to recall and apply knowledge to solving new problems (e.g., Doctors trained with PBL are better able to integrate information when making diagnoses)
  • Indicators of Effective Undergraduate Education
    Students should demonstrate high-level skills in
    Technological literacy and information gathering (to create new knowledge)
    Making informed judgments
    Accurately defining problems and seeking solutions
  • Otherwise Known as…. Critical Thinking:
    Students as participants in a democratic society
    Skills include:
    Questioning the source of evidence in a stated point
    Identifying gaps in information
    Evaluating whether an argument is based on data or opinion/inference/pure speculation
    Using data to draw logical conclusions
  • … or Quantitative Literacy:
    Necessary for informed citizenry
    Skills learned & used within a context
    Reading and interpreting tables or graphs and to calculating percentages and the like
    Working within a scientific model (variables, hypotheses, etc.)
    Understanding and critically evaluating numbers presented in everyday lives
    Evaluating arguments based on data
    Knowing what kinds of data might be useful in answering particular questions
    For a straightforward definition/skill list, see Samford University’s (not social science specific)
  • Students Realize Skills Are Marketable
    Often cited by students as something “tangible” that they have learned
    Definable skill set useful in many career paths
    Easy to tie to everyday life
    Engages students more fully with course content
  • Focus on Inquiry-based Learning
    Many of the advantages of Problem-based Learning (PBL), but more instructor guidance/ “control”
    True PBL gives students a “messy,” real-world problem and they must work together to find the information with which to come up with a solution – the entire course is typically structured around the problem and resulting group learning
    Each team member is responsible for part of the information gathering and true learning takes place when members share information and teach each other
    Instructor provides information with which students investigate the question, build knowledge, discover connections, and reflect upon a new understanding of the issue
    IBL allows instructor ability to use a smaller exercise or set of exercises within other pedagogical styles (e.g., lectures)
    Sometimes easier for introductory-level courses
  • Introducing TeachingWithData.org
    Project Partners
    Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College
    Professional Associations (Economics, Geography, Political Science, and Sociology)
  • TeachingWithData.org
    National Science Digital Library – only social science pathway
    Goal: Make it easier for faculty to use real data in classes
    Undergraduate (esp. “non-methods”)
    K(9)-12 efforts
    Includes survey of ~3600 social science faculty
    Repository of data-related materials
    Exercises, including games and simulations
    Static and dynamic maps, charts, tables
    Tagged with metadata for easy searching
  • TeachingWithData.org
  • TeachingWithData.org
  • What TwD Provides
  • Title Link Goes to Resource, “More About This” Displays Metadata
  • Types of Resources
    “Data in the News” feature – good way to bring in current events
    Lesson plans/lectures
    Data-driven exercises
    Data sources
  • Inquiry-based Learning (Reminder)
    Instructor provides framework
    Students interact with original sources and data
    Develops analysis and communication skills
  • Prepared Lessons (Example)
  • Data-Based Exercises: Online (Example)
  • Data-Based Exercises: No Stat Software Needed (Example)
  • Simulations (Example)
  • Sources of Quantitative Data
    Static tables, maps, graphs
    Interactive maps
    Raw data (with and without online analysis tools)
  • Static Tables (Example)
  • Graphs & Maps (Example)
  • Interactive Maps (Example)
  • Raw Data: Educational Extracts (Example)
  • Teaching Information Gathering
  • Learning about Teaching
    TeachingWithData.org pedagogical resources
    Pedagogy In Action (SERC)
    Related modules:
    Teaching With Data
    Teaching Quantitative Reasoning with the News
    Using Issues to Teach Science
    Teaching Controversial Topics
  • We’d Love to Hear from YOU!
    What have YOU tried?
    What has worked best?
    Favorites we should include in TwD?
  • Acknowledgements
    TwDProject Staff:
    PI: George C. Alter, ICPSR
    Co-PI: William H. Frey, SSDAN
    J. P. DeWitt, Project Manager (SSDAN)
    Lynette Hoelter, Project Manager (ICPSR)
    Sue Hodge, ICPSR
    Jane Wang, Programmer
    Wendi Fornoff, Web designer
    Funded by National Science Foundation grant DUE-0840642
  • Additional References
    Apedoe, Xornam S. 2007. Engaging Students in Inquiry: Tales from an Undergraduate Geology Laboratory-based Course. Science Education. DOI 10.1012/sce.20254
    Edelson, Daniel C., Douglas N. Gordin, and Roy D. Pea. 1999. Addressing the Challenges of Inquiry-Based Learning through Technology and Curriculum Design. Journal of the Learning Sciences.
    Major, Clair H. and Betsy Palmer. 2001. Assessing the Effectiveness of Problem-Based learning in Higher Education: Lessons from the Literature. Academic Exchange Quarterly, v5(1).
    Weimer, Maryellen. 2002. Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • More Information?
    Lynette Hoelter
    Webinar Slides
    ICPSR Front Page in announcement section (beginning 2/24/11)