Performance and Participation in Medium-Sized (72 Students) Lecture Courses

Susan Clements-Vivian

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Susan Clements-Vivian, School of Interactive Arts and Technology

Project team: Adam Ashraf-Abadi and Arlette Stewart, research assistant

Timeframe: Fall 2011

Funding: $2,572.40

Description: Students often seem to prefer labs, which involve smaller groups and hands-on learning, to lectures. On the other hand, traditional studio courses, typically offered to groups of 12 students, are not always feasible in the current funding environment, so that larger lecture-based courses are often a necessity. This project will investigate ways to improve the student experience in a medium-sized lecture-based course by redeveloping three lectures according to a participatory model. The course in question is IAT 202 New Media Images, which consists of a one-hour lecture and a two-hour lab each week. The redevelopment process will involve researching possible lesson models, gathering resources and materials, and developing and testing the new participatory presentation mode. A short in-class questionnaire will be given to students at the end of each revised class to determine whether they found the approach enjoyable and effective. (An optional longer version of the survey will be available online.) The hope is that students will enter their labs with greater applied knowledge of key concepts, enabling them to spend less time reviewing and more time practicing in the labs.

Questions addressed:

  • Does participatory learning improve student engagement with course concepts in an introductory digital media course (IAT 202)?
  • Are the resources adequate to successfully run a participatory learning activity in the course?
  • Is the one-hour time slot adequate to successfully run a participatory learning activity?
  • Do the students enjoy participating in the participatory learning activity?
  • Do the students understand the goals of the activity and feel that they were met?

Knowledge sharing: The results will be presented at a brown bag lunch seminar on teaching strategies in spring 2012. Efforts will also be made to present the findings at a conference on teaching.