Preparing Undergraduate and Postgraduate Learners for Course Activities: Practical Advice from UM Professors

By Christopher Fulton, Centre for Teaching and Learning Enhancement

The challenge of preparing learners from different backgrounds was discussed at a recent event organized by CTLE. In the “Teaching with Technology Conversation on Active Learning Activities,” which was held on 24 March 2021, Prof. Garry Wong shared with participants an approach he is taking for a wide range of learners in a General Education (GE) course. As undergraduate learners in GE courses typically have a diverse range of English language skills, from advanced to functional, it was important to find ways to support those who were less familiar with subject-specific English terms and concepts.

One way learners will be supported is by infusing traditional classroom-based courses with online videos. The videos that Prof. Garry Wong and his research assistants, Ms. Yorn Ka Lai Leung and Ms. Katrina Xian Jiaqi created will be made available in advance of each class. The videos are designed to help learners get familiar with key terms and concepts before attending class. The 4 to 10-minute videos produced in the Spring semester will be used in a course in the Fall. Although creating hours of eye-catching and lively instructional videos requires careful planning and hours to produce, the learners who have less advanced English skills should be much better prepared to engage during face-to-face classes.

Engaging postgraduate learners in face-to-face classrooms can also be challenging, and Prof. Emily Wang shared examples of ways to use online polls to facilitate classroom discussions and exchanges. The approach Prof. Wang shared involves creating an online poll that students use to provide one another with feedback on oral presentations. When one person is making a presentation on an aspect of their research or a project, the other participants will complete an online poll or survey to provide feedback. Prof. Wang chose to use online survey software, 问卷星 (wjx.cn), although other online polling or survey tools such as a questionnaire in UMMoodle or Slido can be used to collect responses. After students have responded to a poll, an instructor can use the responses to facilitate discussion. This approach has been effective in getting students to write, think deeply, and interact in face-to-face classes.

If you have questions, or need help designing instructional videos or questionnaires, please contact Chris Fulton at chrisfulton@um.edu.mo or ext. 4574.

Colleagues are invited to register for upcoming technology conversations. More information will be available at ctle.um.edu.mo/events.

By |2021-03-30T17:17:35+08:00March 29th, 2021|T&L Blog|0 Comments

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