|Figure 1. Lecture flow|
Student preparednessStudents are supposed to come prepared by work on the online module. While points and deadline on online quizzes stimulate compliance, experience and exit polls indicate that not all students come prepared.
Figure 2 illustrates students' response about their preparedness. It indicates that ~1/4 of the students come to class unprepared. I could ignore this fraction and tailor the lecture-discussion to the compliant rest. I am convinced this would be a bad idea, as it would dig a chasm between student types. My strategy instead is to aim for the middle, trying to keep the top students challenged while carrying along as many as possible.
Clicker question strategy
Clicker questions are a critical component of my course. Good planning and design is important for success. Bad clicker questions can throw the session into near chaos, causing confusion, delay, and students detachment from the lecture objective. The safest question, of course, is a dumb question, such as asking the students to spit back a fact that was just presented. It is also ineffective at teaching. In most lectures I attempt to take students though a Socratic journey that ideally should resolve into self discovery and deeper understanding. This is a more risky strategy, but one that offers potential higher rewards. I plan to illustrate successes and pitfalls of this in future posts.