Improving Student Engagement and Freedom in the Modern Chinese History Lecture Hall

Jeremy Brown

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Jeremy Brown, Department of History

Project team: Yifan Shi, research assistant

Timeframe: January to December 2018

Funding: $5980

Course addressed: HIST 255 – China since 1800

Final report: View Jeremy Brown's Final Report

Yifan Shi

Description: I would like to investigate the effectiveness of changes I am making to History 255, China Since 1800, a lecture course that I have taught seven times since 2009. First, I am offering HIST 255 as a single 110-minute weekly lecture rather than as two 50-minute lectures per week. In addition to assessing how adjusting the format affects the delivery of course content. I want to investigate how student exam writing might change when typing is the mode of input by allowing students to type pop quizzes, the take-home midterm, and final exam on their laptops rather than handwriting them using an exam booklet.

Questions addressed:

  • How effective is the 110 minute lecture?
  • Which activities are most engaging for the students in the 110 minute lecture?
  • How does typing quizzes and exams on a laptop (versus handwriting an exam in a booklet) affect student performance?
  • What can be done to encourage students to enroll in and stay in History 255?

Knowledge sharing: We plan to present our findings at the Department of History teaching colloquium for faculty and graduate students. Presentation of results will take place at the Northwest China Forum in Oregon in 2018 or Washington in 2019. The online final report will be available and of interest to anyone teaching lecture courses, especially in Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Keywords: Modern China, engagement, handwriting, typing, classroom observation protocol