V01: Instructor’s Tips
INSTRUCTOR’S TIPS and COMMENTS about running classes this way
- What convinces you this lab/activity sequence is worthwhile for students?
- Seeing “light bulb” moments at each stage when students finally “get” a concept.
- The group work produced during the lab and lecture room follow up activity through discussions with student and listening in on their group conversations.
- Once developed, how does running this activity sequence compare to running a similar number of lectures?
It is a much more active / interactive experience for me and my students. I get to know them better, they get to ask me and the TAs directly, and our time more effectively used because we are helping them directly.
- What was the design and development cycle like?
Took a while to sort out and iron out the kinks after the first run but not too much of a drain on time
- Are activities like this universally applicable or is it likely usable only in this course?
This styles of coupled hands-on and group-based activities could be applied to any course where physical specimens are examined, and results are used to analyze or interpret something based on what is seen.
- What are your top tips for teachers new to this particular course?
- Become familiar with the progression and the approximate timing before you run it.
- Both the lab and follow-up group activity serve to make student thinking ‘visible’, and this enables effective expert-novice interactions. Therefore circulate, see how students are thinking, and react to their thinking in a “tutorial” manner.
- Spread your time around as many students as possible. Don’t get stuck with one individual or group.
- What tips would you have for teachers interested in developing this kind of exercise?
- Keep the students active; make the tasks and questions interesting but not frustrating.
- Make group work habitual in class. One-off or “surprise” activities are rarely appreciated by students, but once they know what to expect, active learning is highly appreciated.