Teaching Tip: Using Lecture Tools for Student Reflection

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The PLC (Professional Learning Community) will be providing the teaching tip of the week throughout the academic year in support of their goal of interdisciplinary collegiality.

We missed sharing this tip earlier in the year in this space and hope you enjoy it reading now!

Lecture Tools is a powerful instructional tool for increased student engagement.  It is integrated through Blackboard and provides analytics for the instructor. Since the application is cloud based, instructors can stream videos or large images for students.  Instructors can import PowerPoints into the system and add interactive slides for live classroom polling or short response so that students utilize smart phones, tablets, or laptops (replacing clickers) to participate.  Students can also post questions through the system during class.  After class, the instructor can assess student participation and review student questions.

While Lecture Tools can be used well in face-to-face or blended courses, I have found this interactive approach to be an excellent tool in my online course for reflection and participation.  I post student reflection questions over readings, media, or general topics in Lecture Tools.  Each “lecture” has a unique URL which I link to in Blackboard.  Students simply click on this link and go directly to a poll or short response question.  I allow students several days to make their posts (graded participation).  As long as polling is open, students cannot see anyone else’s post (which prevents “parroting” the first posts).  After polling is closed, students will see all of the other posts (or results of a survey) but cannot see the name of the student who made the post (the instructor does have access to the identity of the author of the post).

The reflections and surveys provide me with timely feedback on how students are moving through the course module and indicate the level of both student engagement and content mastery.  I post my comments on the reflections/surveys in Blackboard to re-teach concepts that are a bit fuzzy and also provide additional instructor feedback/contact.  These reflections also allow a greater degree of peer-to-peer interaction and learning in the course module.  As the semester progresses, students become more engaged with the materials and their reflections show increased content mastery and higher order critical thinking in their responses.

~Kim Breuer, breuer@uta.edu, Coordinator of First Year History and Online Learning, History, College of Liberal Arts

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