I recently completed the Active learning CIT Fellowship for this semester. The experience was illuminating and I learned a lot about how to engage my students more and how to improve their learning. As a result of the fellowship, I implemented many things in my classroom: I used iClickers for the first time, and I also implemented some aspects of Team Based Learning (TBL), having recently discovered the difference between a team and a group; and I also asked my students to reflect on their participation and study habits.
The iClickers have been a great way for me to get immediate feedback on what my students are learning and also give them immediate feedback on their thinking. I get a lot more buy in this way, and don’t have the concern that they are just going with the majority answer without thinking for themselves. In previous classes I had students raise their hand to pick an answer and have found the iClicker gets a lot more participation (routinely get 30+ responses in a class of 36 – at an 8:30am class). Now even when I don’t use the iClickers (and have a couple of quick on the fly questions (yes/no types) where I ask them to raise their hands) I’ve noticed I get a lot more students raising their hands than I used to, presumably because they are used to committing to answer.
In one of my classes I implemented some aspects of TBL (quizzes as individuals and then as a group), and had students work in their group to solve problems and then present the solution to the class. I really liked how the students seemed to have a ready made study group, have a sense of camaraderie, and seemed to engage with the material more when they had such a close-nit group.
I also have asked my students to reflect more on their own learning by asking them to evaluate their own participation by completing several rounds of self evaluations and having them complete exam wrappers, which allow them to look over their exams and determine where they lost points and how they could improve their studying in the future. Having looked over the results, I feel the students definitely achieved the goal of being more self reflective and I think it turned handing exams back into an exercise.