There are very good reasons to integrate interactive teaching elements whilst giving a course. These range from the research results in cognitive sciences to findings in educational sciences. The latter show that hands on experience can foster deeper student learning and exam success. There is also the demonstrated motivational impact of successful interactive learning techniques, which can introduce a positive learning environment into your class.
If increasing interactivity in your course is something you would like to integrate into your teaching, you will benefit from hearing three ETH faculty members reporting on their approaches to making their courses interactive.
Dr. Johannes Brödel (D-PHYS)
Constant online availability of lecture recordings and all other learning material decoys students to postpone the practicing part of a lecture to the weeks prior to the exam. ,,Hands on, immediately” is an attempt to make students use and apply structures and algorithms in the exercise class right after the lecture. They are given so-called presence problems, in which new techniques can be used in very simple calculational scenarios.
In gaining familiarity with new concepts in an environment where support is readily available helps to lower the threshold for getting acquainted with the homework problems lateron substantially. The concept relies on the flair and instinct of tutors, which are supposed to talk to the small working groups of students and help to formulate good questions.
While perceived critically at the beginning, students felt the advantage of staying at the cutting edge of lecture material more easily after being into the class a couple of weeks.
Prof. Dr. Jeremy Richardson (D-CHAB)
It is unfortunately the case that many students do not have time to complete homework exercises. However, to really understand the lecture material, it is absolutely necessary for the students to work through mathematical examples themselves. Prof. Jeremy Richardson (D-CHAB) has therefore introduced in-class exercises in the middle of his lectures,
in which the students carry out derivations, plot functions and interpret results. During this period, he walks around the room to give hints, fix mistakes and answer deeper questions. In addition to providing students with much-needed practice, this also benefits the lecturer in seeing which aspects remain unclear, which can be remedied immediately in the remaining lecture time.
Dr. Andre Kahles (D-INFK)
Dr. André Kahles (D-INFK) summarises his experience of incorporating interactive elements and active learning sequences into a theoretical course comparing two formats: block course and semester course. In the presentation, he will discuss advantages and disadvantages of either format and raise several points for discussion on how to improve learning experience and student engagement.