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1 John Sloman Improving Student Motivation through Interactive Lectures and Seminars

2 Tell me and I will forget Show me and I will remember Involve me and I will understand Step back and I will act (Chinese proverb)

3 I've taught Snoopy to whistle I can't hear him whistle I said that I'd taught him, not that he'd learned

4 Lectures and Large Workshops

5 What makes a good lecture? What would make a bad lecture for your students?

6 What makes a bad lecture?

7 What makes a good lecture? Problems with traditional lectures –Medium for conveying information –Means of developing student learning Focus on student learning A lecture exercise!


9 Lecturing and student learning Student learning in lectures.. What are the intended learning outcomes? Are popular lectures good lectures? –Entertaining? –Spoonfeeding? Learning styles –Visual, aural, conceptual: encourage variety Active and passive learning.. Deep and surface learning

10 Lecturing and student learning Surface learning encouraged by –Heavy workload –Lack of independence –Passive learning –Assessment encouraging recall –Lack of interest Deep learning encouraged by –Active involvement –Relating to experience –Choices –Progressive subject development –Applications


12 Student preparation Getting background information –Data –Case material Revisiting previous material –Start with a test Getting students to identify issues –Use of the VLE Assigning prior reading –Again, start with a test

13 Lecture structure and content Clear structure –Mapping / overview –Issues to be addressed Not too much material.. Examples Mixing presentation with student activities

14 Lecture structure and content Lecture session plan


16 Activities and breaks Do not talk for the whole hour! –Diminishing returns Attention wanes Comprehension and learning declines –Give students things to do that aid their learning Dont worry about not covering so much –Even give them a break

17 Activities and breaks Activities –Tests/quizzes (use of PRS?).. –Brief discussion with neighbour e.g. policy implications List of advantages / disadvantages –Doing a calculation / completing a diagram –Worksheets Hybrid between lecture and workshop Break –Watch video –Compare notes –Tidy up your own notes.. –Entertainment

18 Building on the lecture Note takers –Post on discussion board –Use for seminars Post questions on discussion board –Use it as FAQ –Start debate going with students Directly link to seminars/workshops –Material covered –Activities in the lecture Online study guide: your own or published –Think of incentives for use Preparation for next lecture

19 Workshops in Lectures Can be used with large lecture groups Use worksheets –Useful for technical and other closed-ended questions Student work through questions in pairs Lecturer goes through them at front Other considerations –Layout of room –Use of GTAs –Use of audience voting system

20 Rethinking the Seminar

21 Traditional approaches to seminars Pre-prepared worksheet / problem sets –Nature Pre-set questions Students assigned to present answers Clarification by tutor as necessary –Strengths Structured study by students Can reinforce material in lectures/reading Chance to ask questions of tutor Chance to evaluate progress

22 Pre-prepared worksheets / problem sets (cont.) –Weaknesses Largely passive for students Students are poor tutors Problem when students have not done the answers: question of incentives –Answers? Traditional approaches to seminars

23 Giving a paper –Nature Individual (or two), possibly with respondent Discussion (with pre-prepared questions?) Tutor steered –Strengths Gives students opportunity to present (key skill) Helps develop research skills Useful for further work (e.g. essay), helped by tutor feedback in seminar Traditional approaches to seminars

24 Giving a paper (cont.) –Weaknesses Poor learning experience for other students Can degenerate into dialogue between presenter and tutor Other students may not prepared for it (being solely concerned with their own presentation) May encourage overspecialisation by student –Answers? Traditional approaches to seminars

25 Interactive Teaching Almost always appeals to students Increased involvement = increased responsibility for learning Improves understanding Improves motivation Often leads to higher pass rates (lower referral rates)

26 The first seminar Establishing expectations –Student expectations of Tutor Other students Themselves –Informal contract Revisit contract in subsequent seminars

27 Seminar activities Reporting back on pre-prepared work Individual work –Reading –Calculations –Preparing answers to questions Working in pairs or threes –Preparing answers to questions –Clarification of ideas –Comparing and agreeing on answers –Composing essay plans –Marking each others work; deciding marking criteria

28 Seminar activities Working in fours or fives –Debating topic and arriving at team view –Preparing answer for plenary (use flip-chart / OHT) –Project team with division of labour Pyramid –Bring together small groups which do preliminary work Fishbowl –Fish discuss issue, others observe and note Envoys –Individuals change groups to inject new ideas

29 Formal debates –Individuals assigned roles in advance –Given topic in advance: small groups prepare one side and then tutor chooses presenters Your Witness / The Moral Maze –Panel to ask questions of pre-assigned witnesses Presentation with primed respondents –One presenter, one respondent, others have to bring pre-prepared questions –Two or more presenters (different aspects) –Group presentations Seminar activities

30 Role playing –Pre-allocated roles and scenario –Pre-reading; roles allocated at time Games, simulations and experiments –Whole class –In groups –Single session or over long time period Videos –Followed by quiz, debate or small-group work Computer lab sessions (individual or pairs) Virtual seminars Seminar activities

31 Classroom Experiments Learning by doing

32 Games, experiments and role playing in PBL Strengths –motivation, involvement, empathy, fun! –encourages active and deep learning –illustration and contextualisation Potential weaknesses –over-simplification –not taken seriously

33 Games, experiments and role playing in PBL Overcoming the drawbacks –clear guidelines –feedback and reflection –drawing on concepts in later classes –linked to seminar activities The Exeter FDTL5 project (link) (link)

34 Game 1: A trading game Students divided into buyers and sellers Students given cards –Black for sellers of the item Number on card gives cost of item in £s Want to sell above value of card –Red for buyers of the item Number on card gives value of item in £s Want to buy below value of card Trading takes place –Individual buyers and sellers agree prices –Mark their gain on their sheet –No deal gives no gain or loss

35 Game 1: Reflections Students get considerable insight into the working of pit markets Equilibrium prices rapidly emerge –Can vary the cards to see the effects on equilibrium Easy to demonstrate producer and consumer surplus Can discuss information issues Can introduce a tax of £x on suppliers

36 £2 tax imposed on sellers (b) One we tried earlier (b) Potential gains An 18 player game



39 Game 2: Expected value game TV show: Deal or No Deal? –Channel 4, six days per week (45 mins) US version playable online (link) (link) –26 people each with a suitcase of money, the amount not known to them Sums of money vary from 1¢ to $1,000,000 –One contestant us selected to play … who eliminates suitcases in batches, whose contents are then revealed After each batch, the contestant is offered a Deal by the Banker, based on the values yet to be eliminated The contestant chooses Deal or No Deal

40 Game 2: Reflections Virtually all students will be familiar with the game Easy to set up: –It can be played online –Or with envelopes and the sums of money on the whiteboard Illustrates decision-making under risk –Expected value; risk premia; probability; risk attitudes and what affects them

41 Game 3: Production function game Activity –Production runs (2) in a factory, involving moving balls from one place to another –Extra workers are added one at a time Equipment: –About 30 balls (e.g. tennis balls) –4 buckets (or baskets or cardboard boxes) Students divided into two teams –Object to get as many balls from one end to the other in 30 seconds

42 Game 3: Reflections Easy to set up and fun to play –Can bring alive a potentially dry subject area –Flexible: can be played with 1, 2 or more teams Can demonstrate –Diminishing returns –TP, AP and MP –Can derive TC, AC, MC, TR, AR, MR and Profit –Shifts and movements along product and cost curves from technological change –Effects of changing fixed and variable costs

43 Game 4: Public goods game Aim –Aim is to make as much money as possible, irrespective of what others make Activity –Each person (or pair) is given four cards of the same value (e.g. four threes or four queens) –Each person plays two cards each round Scoring –Black cards have no value –Red cards are worth £1 for everyone if played and £4 just to the individual if not played.

44 Game 4: Reflections Very easy to set up and fun to play –Can easily be played in a seminar –Flexible: can be played with up to 13 individuals or pairs Can demonstrate –Public goods and external benefits –Prisoners dilemma and Nash equilibrium –Collusion versus competition –Motivation and altruism

45 Game 5: Auctioning a pound coin Activity –This is a simple auction of a pound coin –The only difference is that both the winner and the next highest bidder have to pay At the end –The money earned can be returned to students (but dont tell them this at the start). –A discussion can then take place about the issues raised

46 Game 5: Reflections Simple and flexible –Simple equipment: a pile of pound coins and a sheet for recording results –Can be played in a seminar group Can demonstrate –Sunk costs and marginal costs –Risk attitudes –Collusive bidding –Concepts of equity

47 Game 6: A Keynesian Beauty Contest A game about investor expectations –predicting share prices based on what you think other people will do Simple to play –No equipment required other than: a calculator for the tutor a whiteboard/flipchart for recording results The game (each round) –Students have to select a number from 0 to 100 –A prize is given in each round to the student who selects a number closest to 2/3 of the mean

48 Game 6: A Keynesian Beauty Contest Each person of N-players is asked to choose a number from the interval 0 to 100. The winner is the person whose choice is closest to p times the mean of the choices of all players (where p is, for example, 2/3). The winner gets a fixed prize (e.g.a chocolate). The same game should then be repeated for several periods. Students are informed of the mean, 2/3 mean and all choices after each period. Students should write down each time (or at the end) a brief comment about how they came to their choice. Time to think in each period: about 3 minutes

49 Game 6: Reflections Link1 Link 2Link1Link 2 At the end –Students can be asked to explain their decisions Can demonstrate: –Expectations formation –Iterative thinking / progression –Movement to Nash equilibrium

50 Game 7: Tradable Permits Game Six teams –Each represents a polluting firm –Each team is given a worksheet and a marginal abatement cost (MAC) curve Each team is given an emissions allocation –The same for all firms (1480 units) Round 1 –Establishes cost of abatement with no trading Round 2 –Teams can now trade allocations –Price is adjusted by tutor until demand equals supply –Establishes the cost with trading at market clearing price

51 Game 7: Reflections Uses MC = MR analysis in a different context Demonstrates how emissions trading can achieve any given pollution reduction at minimum cost Flexible: no. of permits can be varied to demonstrate –Effect on equilibrium price –Abatement costs Seminar can analyses worksheets of all teams after the game

52 References Classroom Expernomics – Charlie Holts Games papers – Charlie Holts Veconlab – Charles A. Holt, Markets, Games and Strategic Behaviour, Pearson/Addison Wesley, 2006 Bringing Economic Experiments into the Classroom (FDTL5 project: Univ. of Exeter) –

53 Learning is fundamentally about making and maintaining connections: biologically through neural networks; mentally among concepts, ideas and meanings; and experientially through interaction between the mind and the environment, self and other, generality and context, deliberation and action. Learning is enhanced by taking place in the context of a compelling situation that balances challenges and opportunity, simulating the brains ability to conceptualize quickly and its capacity and need for contemplation and reflection upon experiences. Learning James Eison, Teaching Strategies for the Twenty-first Century, 2002

54 When students are constrained to the role of listeners while a lecturer delivers a monologue, they tend to be passive, not only at a behavioural level, but on a cognitive level as well They do not engage actively in the kinds of elaborative information processing that helps to ensure understanding, retention and transfer Active and Passive learning Jessica Ball, Strategies for Promoting Active Learning in Large Classes, Journal of teaching Practice, vol 3, 1994

55 Comparing lectures in which 90% v 70% v 50% of the sentences disseminated new information (with the remaining time in case being used for restating, highlighting significance, giving more examples, and relating to the students prior experience) it was found that students given the lower level of new content learned and retained the lecture information better. Less is more Russell, I.J. et al., 1984, Effects of lecture information density on medical student achievement, Journal of Medical Education 59: 881-9

56 Evidence suggests that for immediate recall of a lecture, students who take most notes themselves come out best and those who rely on tutor notes come out worst. In the medium term (a couple of weeks) those who listened, but took no notes, came out best. Longer term, and with the chance for revision, those who took no notes came out worst, and those how have tutor notes come out best. Note taking Liz Barnett, LSE, 2003

57 Audience response system

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