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Re: group projects
Posted:
Mar 30, 1995 6:02 AM


>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 >older >> 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.
However,... 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 waggoner@storm.simpson.edu 



