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Type: Conference paper
Title: Ready to Learn: Effectively Engaging Students with Pre-Lecture Activities
Author: Pope, C.
Karanicolas, S.
Willis, C.
Green, I.
Snelling, C.
Carrington, A.
Baron, J.
Citation: The Education Research Group of Adelaide (ERGA) conference 2010: The Changing Face of Education, 24-25 September, 2010; pp. 14-15.
Publisher: University of Adelaide
Publisher Place: online
Issue Date: 2010
Conference Name: ERGA Conference (5th : 2010 : Adelaide, Australia)
Department: Centre for Learning and Professional Development
Abstract: Many university lecturers are in the process of reshaping the nature and purpose of face-to-face contact time, seeking to morph the traditional lecture into something that is more interactive and student driven. This shift is apparent in a range of initiatives, for example, such as POGIL (Moog, 2010), Team-Based Learning (Sibley, 2010), Peer Instruction (Mazur, 1999; Crouch & Mazur, 2001), Just in Time Teaching (Carrington & Green, 2007; Novak, 2010), Crash Courses (Willis, 2009) and Integrated Online Learning Modules (Snelling et al., 2009; Karanicolas et al., 2009; Karanicolas & Snelling, 2010; Snelling & Karanicolas, 2010) to name but a few. Underpinning this changing lecture dynamic is a focus on the content that students are required to cover so that they may be best prepared for, and thus gain maximum benefit from, the face-to-face session. Team-Based Learning, for example, does this in a quasi-traditional manner, relying on readings combined with reading guides and preparatory questions, while the Integrated Online Learning Modules achieves this in a much more contemporary fashion, providing students with multi-media learning modules and online quizzes. In both cases the emphasis is on moving a significant proportion of the ‘broadcast’ material, i.e. the one-way monologues that were the stuff of the traditional university lecture, out of the face-to-face session, and into a format that students access independently and work through at their own pace. However, designing effective pre-lecture activities presents its own challenges. These activities need to be suitable for students from a wide range of backgrounds and abilities, and with a range of different learning styles and needs. They need to effectively cover the required content while continuing to hold student interest and they need to relate coherently to the upcoming face-to-face session. Without a student perception of relevance, pre-lecture activities will not be carried out either at the right time or, possibly, at all. In this panel session, then, we will review the characteristics of effective pre-lecture activities, those that succeed in engaging students while ensuring they acquire the skills and knowledge enabling them to best participate in the faceto- face interaction. Such activities provide a scaffolding of the curriculum, support collaborative learning and nurture problem solving skills; importantly, they should also function as an effective revision tool, for example, in preparation for final assessment. We will present some approaches to designing activities with these characteristics, and will provide examples from our own work, discussing the lessons we have learned about how (and how not) to design such activities. Equally importantly, we will discuss common stumbling blocks for both lecturers and students in transiting to these teaching and learning modes. The panel members have first hand experience over a wide range of disciplines, year levels and class sizes; they will present current research into, and will reflect on their own experiences of, pre-lecture activities, both online and face-to-face. The session will encourage members of the audience to share their own experiences, and will open dialogue aimed at identifying the sorts of tools and resources sought by lecturers wanting to move towards more interactive face-to-face learning and effective pre-lecture activities.
Description: Panel session
Rights: Copyright © 2010 The University of Adelaide
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Centre for Learning and Professional Development publications

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