Demonstrating practical relevance and active teaching

Short Description

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Objective

To “further increase the motivation of the students by more clearly demonstrating the practical relevance of the treated topics as well as by using more active teaching methods, resulting in better performance during the course (e.g. in terms of actively participating in the course and doing their homework) and improved examination results”.

Adding 4 elements:

  • Poster assignment: students make a poster about a water analysis in their area of origin. I added all posters to an interactive map here. Students gave feedback to 3 other posters through Blackboard-Turnitin.
  • News messages: Before, during and after the course, I send e-mails with news articles that are related to the course
  • Graphical explanations of important principles (photos of kitchen experiments).
  • Self tests.

Strong Points

We received enthusiastic responses from students which shows that at least some students are more motivated. The examination results improved, although it’s hard to compare because previously Water 1 was part of a larger course. The course’s first-attempt exam pass rate is now around 60%, so further improvement is necessary.

Recommendations

  • The poster assignment should have more guidelines (requested by students).
  • Don’t send news emails to all students later than a few months after the course (unless students sign up for it).
  • Make more graphical explanations.
  • Be very clear and strict about deadlines (for the poster assignment). The peer-review system works well if everyone sticks to the schedule and submits the draft and reviews in time. However, 10-20% of the students miss deadlines and email to ask for extensions. Setting up review groups manually for these students takes much more time than the larger group of students who are in time.

For more information and/or recommendations, please contact Claudia Brauer.