FULT ePortfolio Blogs #5 week 3

This is for activity 1b: propose a teaching strategy based on what you’re learnt in FULT and on the peer observation.

I haven’t done a peer observation this semester, but I did sit in on a few physics tutorials last semester. They were large group – about 50 students – with two or three academic tuors roaming. They really buzzed – stduents were working in groups at white boards, discussing and arguing, and doing simple hands-on activities.

The learning gains were excellent. There are problem concepts in physics, like Newton’s third law,  and a short hands-on activity in one tute gave much better learning gains than we’d previously seen with extensive instruction in lectures and tutes, and feedback in tests an assignments.

So this is what I want to implement in the new engineering mechanics course next semester: double size tutes, with two tutors (me + one) and simple activities as well as more traditional sit down and do it problem solving.

The plan for this course is to have 2 two hour lectures, with lots of interactive stuff like Peer Instruction, worked examples, etc and a two hour tute each week. We looked at other ways of scheduling things, for example flipping, but they all resulted in large workload increases. This is a fairly modest workload increase in comparison. It’s also a new course, being put together by combining two other courses – statics and dynamics.

I know blended is flavour of the month, but the reality is that I don’t have the expertise to do a good job of it. Apparently at some point in the near future there will be someone on campus to help with that sort of stuff…  When that happens I’ll look into doing more with the online components. In the meantime, I know that we can get excellent learning gains with a set of bathroom scales and a whiteboard (see our upcoming paper in The Science Teacher). When I see similar data on blended learning than I’ll put that in too.

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