Active Learning

Faculty Name Nicholas Henriksen
Course Spanish 410
  • Flipped Course
  • Tutorial Videos
  • Student Collected Data

Introduction

Nicholas Henriksen’s Spanish 410 course takes a more scientific, linguistic approach to Spanish. The semester is structured around students’ researching, recording, and analyzing speakers, then writing up their findings.

Active Learning in the Course

Rather than presenting data sets to demonstrate the differences between native and non-native Spanish speakers, this course is “flipped.” Students record and process their own data to test their hypotheses about the differences between groups of speakers, and the course works through the process for and implications of performing linguistic analysis. Read more »

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Faculty Name Fei Wen
Course Chemical Engineering 342
  • Group Work
  • Student Video Creation
  • Public Scholarship

Introduction

After a colleague suggested that she show a clip from the popular TV show Mythbusters to demonstrate the different regimes of boiling, Fei Wen was inspired to incorporate more forms of media into her courses, eventually asking students to create their own informational videos to explain difficult concepts to more general audiences. These videos have grown into a channel on YouTube, which is part of an outreach effort to inspire and attract a more diverse engineering population. Read more »

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Faculty Name Andries Coetzee
Course Linguistics 210
  • Group Assignments
  • Peer Evaluation
  • Tutorial Videos

Introduction

Andries Coetzee was tasked with teaching the large introductory Linguistics course often taken as a compulsory distribution requirement, divided between early-career (freshman) students who may want to major in Linguistics and students in their final year who need the credits to graduate. With the help of the LSA/CRLT Large Course Initiative, he has implemented a “Build Your Own Language” group assignment to build on the excitement around so-called “constructed”  languages in popular culture and engage the diverse learners of the course.

Active Learning in the Course

Rather than having students engage in the theories of linguistics through extensive data sets and previous research, students in this introductory course are taking the theoretical tools presented in class to create their own language in groups of three or more. By making explicit connections between this assignment and the type of work linguistics scholars contribute to media texts (the language of Pandora in Avatar, for example), the students can directly connect the work of the class, and thus the work of the major should they wish to continue, to the cultural products around them. Read more »

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Faculty Name Sabine Gabaron
Course Topics French 232
  • Student Created Content
  • Group Assignments
  • Digital Media Creation

Introduction

By the fourth semester of the language sequence at U-M, students are expected to speak, read, and write in their target language exclusively. By shifting the responsibility of providing material for the course (readings, examples, videos, and the like) from the instructor to the students, Sabine Gabaron has created an environment that enables students to practice the language comfortably and enthusiastically.

Active Learning in the Course

Each semester-long course is themed around a topic like comics, music, or politics, and students respond to a specific prompt by bringing in news articles, songs, or other examples in French to the each class meeting. Each group sees unique material, making it so not everyone "learns" the same thing or is exposed to the same material. Students work collaboratively on one computer, phone, or tablet to present their materials and then report back their findings to the rest of the group, so that they first practice their reading and speaking in small groups and then in the larger, full-course environment. Read more »

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Faculty Name David Gerdes
Course Physics 240
  • Large Lecture Engagement
  • iClicker Comprehension checks
  • Pre-class problem sets

Introduction

Try teaching physics to a group of 600 students at a time, very few of whom are going to continue on to be physics majors and the vast majority needing to complete the class in order to move on to work in other science fields. By changing the format of the class (dropping discussion sections, incorporating pre-lecture video and homework questions, engaging students in class using iClickers), David Gerdes has seen huge gains in engagement and learning even in such a large class. Read more »

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