Developing An Instructional Model to Replace the High-Enrollment Lecture

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: John Nesbit, Faculty of Education

Project team: Elisa Vandenborn and Farimah Salimi, research assistants

Timeframe: May 2012 to January 2013

Funding: $8,200

Course addressed: EDUC 220 – Introduction to Educational Psychology

Final report: View the teams’s final project report (PDF).

From the final report: "Students expressed strong interest in and support for the interviews conducted with guest experts. After class, there was often a group of students crowding around the guest expert and asking questions." … Read more >>

Description: A lecture-tutorial course enrolling over 200 undergraduates will be revised so that students have more opportunities for interacting with the instructor. The new instructional model will have some students attending class in person and others attending via a teleconferencing system. Data will be collected and analysed to investigate students’ attitudes, experiences, and achievement while using the new instructional model. 

Elements of the model will likely:

  • require each tutorial section (~16 students) to attend in person two instructor-led meetings per term, and to prepare questions and comments for that meeting
  • require each tutorial
section to attend online
two instructor-led
meetings per term, and
to participate in polling
and brief commenting
via the teleconferencing system
  • display input from the online section on a large screen during the meeting
  • allow optional attendance in the instructor-led meetings for students in other sections. Non-attending students will need to access the recording.
  • in half the instructor-led meetings, introduce and interview a guest expert (PhD student or faculty member) who specializes in the topic of the week
  • retain but adapt the multiple TA-led tutorial section meetings

A graduate student, who is a former teaching assistant (TA) for the course, will assist in developing and evaluating the instructional model. We will adapt the current content of the course (including current lecture material, assessments, and tutorial learning activities) to align with the new model. We will administer a questionnaire that assesses students’ perceptions of major features of the model. We will also interview a small number of students to gather more detailed data about their experiences with the model. To assess learning outcomes, I will use many of the same test items as in a previous semester of the course so that test scores can be compared.

Question addressed: The question to be investigated is whether an alternative instructional model would be positively perceived by students and lead to similar or greater achievement outcomes compared with the traditional lecture-tutorial model while maintaining the same instructor-student ratio, physical facilities and registration protocols as a typical, high-enrollment, course at SFU.

Knowledge sharing: We will write a report presenting the results of our analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data. We will present the report at a suitable conference. Under the auspices of the Teaching and Learning Centre, I will gladly meet with other instructors to advise them in implementing the instructional model in their courses.