Topic: Using SPARK in Large Lecture Courses
Last month, about 15 SPARK users –new and veteran– gathered to enjoy lunch and share strategies for using technology to manage large lecture classes. Presenting were Dan Gerber from the School of Public Health, and John Gerber from the Department of Plant, Soil, and Insect Sciences.
Both instructors aim to create a paper-free, interactive course that will engage students without using tests. Dan Gerber encouraged faculty to help students take a more active role in their learning. As he remarked, “students are used to showing up to class and sitting there like lumps on a log. That’s the toughest cultural change we have to make for these students.” John Gerber wanted to change student behavior with regard to the environment rather than demand that they memorize material.
How can professors increase opportunities for student participation without being overwhelmed by the resulting workload?