I swore I would never be like Ferris Bueller’s teacher. However, there were times when I was “lecturing” that I would look out at my students and see the glazed over eyes and drops of drool coming out of their mouths. I used the Socratic Method of questioning where I attempted to engage students with questions about the content. Inevitably, the same student(s) would answer. Calling on students at random would result in awkward situations and sometimes anger. Most students wanted to be left alone; secure in their passive-learning environment. Engaging students was a lot of work.
I started teaching online in the early 2000’s. Several good pedagogical practices resulted from teaching online.
1. I needed to replicate my “lecture” for these students. Uploading a PowerPoint presentation was not sufficient. I began podcasting my lectures in 2008 and using a SmartBoard to save my board work. Both my face-to-face and online learners benefited from this. Students could review the lesson or watch it for the first time if he or she was absent. Students were also able to relax during the lecture knowing that they didn’t have to write down everything. If something was missed, they could listen to me again and see the board.
2. I held online problem sessions for my online chemistry class and noticed that not only did students come prepared for the session having been actively engaged in the content, but they asked GOOD questions. I was able to spend the entire hour just working on problem-solving. How could I mimic this same environment in my face-to-face class?
Well, who better to ask this question to than my students? I brainstormed with them. How could I spend time in class just working on the problems? I couldn’t do this if the student was not prepared.
Solution: First, I found an excellent, readable textbook. Students were assigned readings and encouraged to take notes. I started administering “reading quizzes” at the beginning of each chapter that covered the concepts, definitions, terminology. AND students could use their notes on the quiz! Woo hoo! “magic bullet”! Students would come to class prepared to perform those higher order thinking skills on Bloom’s Taxonomy like analysis, evaluation, synthesis! not exactly…..
to be continued….