Title: Active engagement of students by means of class exercises
Hans de Bresser,
Utrecht University, The Netherlands;
Event: Abstract GeoUtrecht2020
Utrecht University, The Netherlands
In order to improve student learning during lectures on location, students can be actively engaged by giving short class-exercises. Class exercises are just one of the many ways of making lectures more interactive. A good source of inspiration regarding interactive lectures is formed by the quick start-up guides presented at serc.carleton.edu/onramps/index.html (NSF funded project).
I have ample experience with class exercises in a Structural Geology and Tectonics course I teach at Utrecht University. This is a 3rd year bachelor’s degree course with 20–40 participants. I typically give two class exercises per lecture hour. They always have a well-defined aim and task, and take about 3–10 minutes each. The exercises bring back the attention of students, re-emphasize a topic that I have just talked about, and give the students a chance to directly apply a concept, equation, or technique. The exercises may include a quick calculation, making a measurement, reading a graph, or interpreting a (seismic) section or rock (micro)structure.
Course evaluations show that students very much appreciate the interactive nature of the lectures induced by the class exercises. They feel engaged and later revisit the exercises in preparation for exams. In my experience, class exercises are not widely used as a useful teaching strategy, which is a regrettable since they are easy to implement and form a cost-effective way to make classic lectures more effective for students in terms of reaching learning outcomes.