A few weeks ago, about 30 staff from across the UT Libraries got together to give TLS input to help us plan the classroom teaching series. This is a series of workshops to be held this spring and next fall to support people as classroom teachers in all types of classrooms, from the traditional auditorium classroom to the technology-rich active learning classrooms we are planning for the Learning Commons. The common theme of the input was active learning. In fact, our first workshop on March 10 from 1-2pm will be about getting started with active learning for people new to it and those who want a refresher. If you are interested, you can RSVP here and also see and RSVP for other workshops planned for the spring.
I thought I would get the conversation started by asking you to share what you do and sharing something I am doing. First, you! Please take a moment to fill out this GoogleForm with something you do in class that you think works well. If you want to share more than one thing, fill it out multiple times. I’ll compile the results and share them so we can begin to build a bank of activities we can all use. Since most of what we do in TLS is focused on the non-major freshman, it would be especially fantastic to get examples of what you like to do with your majors and your upper division students. So, let me just thank you in advance for sharing!
Ok, now me. Today I had a class of freshmen who had to use 10-12 peer-reviewed articles for their research paper. Although they’ve read a few for their course this semester, they didn’t know it and hadn’t discussed what one is and why people write and read them. I decided to start out with an activity where they would discover for themselves what a peer-reviewed article is and why all their professors want them to read them. That would inform everything else in the class from brainstorming keywords to choosing a database and searching. Here was my plan:
- Select one popular and one scholarly source on the same topic and link them from the SubjectsPlus course guide as Article 1 and Article 2. (It would also be great to find a scholarly article and then a popular one reporting about the scholarly article, but that didn’t work out for this class topic.)
- Break the students into groups and ask them to review both articles and answer a series of questions. You could do this in a GoogleForm or give them these questions in paper. Give them about 15-20 minutes to do this.
- Have groups report out and use what they say to facilitate a conversation about the differences between scholarly and popular sources and when you might want to use one or the other. As you take notes on what they say on a white board or a document on your computer, you could build a popular versus scholarly grid.
Due to the power outage causing us to get a late start, I wasn’t able to do this full exercise as planned but I did have them look at the scholarly article and, as a group, we figured out the characteristics together and I wrote them on the board. This worked pretty well and one girl even took a picture of the board. That never happens and it made me really happy.
I hope you will take a moment to share what you do or try out the above exercise in full and let me know how it went.