Beichner, R.J., Saul, J.M., Abbott, D.S., Morse, J., Deardorff, D., Allain, R.J., Bonham, S.W., Dancy, M. and Risley, J., 2007. The student-centered activities for large enrollment undergraduate programs (SCALE-UP) project. Research-Based Reform of University Physics, 1 (1), 2-39.
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What? In the session we our first go at PBL. The students worked in groups of 3 to answer an open question (problem) on knitted fabric construction.
Why? I am trialling PBL as a technique to make the sessions more student centered.The theory implies that student centered techniques lead to deeper forms of learning and I want to raise the quantity and quality of my students work. Students didn’t really engage with SDS activities in the MM1 module and so I want to see if I can improve this by adapting the pedagogies that I use.
Reaction. The students knew less than I had assumed, on fabric construction methods and so the open question appeared to be pitched quite high. The students all get on with each other – however on observation I could see that certain members of the group dominated and sometimes the quiet students had the most to contribute.
Learned? I asked the students to write a reflection on the session and found that they reacted positively to the presentation of learning to their peers. They commented in their learning journal that they “particularly enjoyed presenting the information to the rest of the group” because it was “more engaging to listen to a range of voices” and that the activity was “good for learning to improve personal clarity”. They found the time scale a challenge, as most students commented in some form on this. However, it was good to see that some students had started to consider how they might make time management a future goal by furthering their understanding of “what problem solving is” and “how to use their time more effectively”
Goal. I need to spend a bit more time talking to the students about the philosophy behind PBL/SCALE-UP and ensure that SDS carried out beforehand is relevant and embedded within the taught session.
I am going to be using this blog to discuss the SCALE-UP project that I am involved with at NTU.
The SCALE-UP project has come from R Beichner and is based on work from MIT.