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Topic: group projects
Replies: 10   Last Post: Mar 30, 1995 4:58 PM

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Murphy Waggoner

Posts: 52
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: group projects
Posted: Mar 30, 1995 6:02 AM
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>On Thu, 30 Mar 1995, Murphy Waggoner wrote:

>> I tried an experiment last semester in my business calculus class. Instead
>> of lecturing, the students taught themselves by reading the book, working
>> out their own examples, and answering some questions about the concepts all
>> during class. I would lecture occasionally when I thought most of the
>> students needed help with the same concept, but for the most part the

>> students approved of the way the class was taught except for the two
>> students who requested that I lecture all the time.

Response from Cathy Brady:
>A little to the side of the topic... but more related than I first
>thought ... as a former "older student", I have had college classes where I
>was convinced that the teacher was doing no work. Peer evaluation, group
>project... no syllabus even! I resented paying for that.

I do work in the class. I spend the entire class period assisting the
students or checking with each group on their progress (the classwork is
done in groups but the students turn in individual papers), the tasks for
each day must be prepared (which takes much longer than preparing a
lecture), each student turns in two papers each day (the classwork and the
homework) which are always returned the next class period, and then there
are the usual exams, reviews, syllabus, etc. And I don't think the older
students (or any student) would say I hadn't worked.

I believe that _who_ does the work in the class is important. The
motivation for this experiment was that I was tired of working examples on
the board for the students. What was the point when the students could
(with a little assistance) work the example themselves? I read somewhere
that we remember only 40% of what we hear and 70% of what we do and I
decided to put that into action. As a result I don't do the same sort of
work as I used to (I don't have to preform for 50 minutes in front of an
audience) but I still do work.

It is true that there are some instructors that do no work. We have a
faculty member (not mathematics) that teaches the exact same course every
year, pulls out the notes for that day's lecture when needed, uses exams
that are already on file, and has a teaching assistant do the grading.
This person does lecture and have consultation hours but that is all. So
Cathy's last statement about teachers needing to know what they are doing
is true, however, I don't think there is a connection between whether an
instructor lectures or not and how much work they are doing.

Murphy Waggoner
Department of Mathematics
Simpson College
701 North C Street
Indianola, IA 50125

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