Throw away the handouts

I was at¬†a meeting in Bristol yesterday ‘Using assessment to engage students and enhance their learning’. Much of the discussion was on the use of peer assessment (and plenty of interesting stuff), with a keynote from Paul Orsmond,¬†considering student and tutor behaviour inside and outside the formal curriculum.

However, what struck me most was something reported in a presentation from Harriet Jones of the Biosciences Department at the University of East Anglia (UEA). They want students to make their own notes so have made a conscious decision to stop giving out lecture notes (though copies of presentations used in lectures are available on their VLE 48 hours before each lecture, for those who want to download a copy and also for students who want to check something later). It’s a brave decision but also, I think, a very sensible one.

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One Response to Throw away the handouts

  1. chris says:

    This is an interesting comment from a OU perspective. I’m an AL and over the past few years I’ve moved to giving the students more before tutorials (slides, questions, answers, everything), and now have even started producing primers in some cases. And I’ve anecdotally seen a interesting change as a result.

    I spend less time board teaching, and more time getting the students to discuss what they do, and peer learn – this appears to be effective as it quickly (in limited time) shows up areas of misunderstanding which we can then concentrate on.

    I’m still struggling to apply this on OU Live (e-conferencing software), not being able to see a student makes it harder to judge if they are getting lost. So far my greatest success in this area is setting up breakout groups, and giving them questions clearly answered on the primer I also provide – the weaker students appear more willing to admit they don’t understand and ask for support from their peers, but go quiet again when I enter a room. (maybe it is me!)

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