Event Title

Use of Education Technology to Discuss Controversial Topics in Large-Enrollment Classes within the Natural Resources

Presenter Information

John B. Dunning

Location

Peavy/Richardson Halls

Event Website

http://uenr.forestry.oregonstate.edu/

Start Date

15-3-2008 12:00 AM

End Date

15-3-2008 12:00 AM

Description

Introductory natural-resource courses at Purdue University are often taken by undergraduates from a wide variety of backgrounds to satisfy general science requirements. These courses therefore have large enrollments (>400 students per semester) of individuals with little background in the natural resource field. It is difficult to teach large groups of students effectively, and lecture in large-enrollment classes are often poorly attended, leading to reduced retention of the subject matter by many students. Individuals can often feel anonymous, with little ability to interact with the instructor. While this is common to many large-enrollment classes, it is particularly unfortunate for natural-resource courses, where we deal with many controversial topics being debated within society at large. Since 2004 I have been using educational technology called a classroom response system (CRS) to make my introductory course more interactive. CRS are sets of software and hardware that allow instructors to ask questions and have the individual students respond in class. Results are tabulated automatically and shown back to the students, giving instant feedback. In addition, the instructor receives a report from each CRS session, allowing me to assign credit for lass participation. With this system, I ask students to give their opinions on controversial topics, such as fire management, protection of endangered species, land-use practices, and climate change. Students see what opinions their peers are willing to express, and which solutions proposed for particular issues have general support. Use of a classroom response system encourages students to attend class regularly, learn from their peers, and (hopefully) gain a greater understanding of the course material.

Comments

Session #5: Fostering Critical Thinking. Presentation for 7th Biennial Conference on University Education in Natural Resources, March 13-15, 2008, Corvallis, Oregon. Featured in the ScholarsArchive@OSU in Oregon State University. Suggested Citation: Dunning, John B. 2008. Use of education technology to “discuss” controversial topics in large-enrollment classes within the natural resources. UENR 7th Biennial Conference, ScholarsArchive at Oregon State University. http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8455

 
Mar 15th, 12:00 AM Mar 15th, 12:00 AM

Use of Education Technology to Discuss Controversial Topics in Large-Enrollment Classes within the Natural Resources

Peavy/Richardson Halls

Introductory natural-resource courses at Purdue University are often taken by undergraduates from a wide variety of backgrounds to satisfy general science requirements. These courses therefore have large enrollments (>400 students per semester) of individuals with little background in the natural resource field. It is difficult to teach large groups of students effectively, and lecture in large-enrollment classes are often poorly attended, leading to reduced retention of the subject matter by many students. Individuals can often feel anonymous, with little ability to interact with the instructor. While this is common to many large-enrollment classes, it is particularly unfortunate for natural-resource courses, where we deal with many controversial topics being debated within society at large. Since 2004 I have been using educational technology called a classroom response system (CRS) to make my introductory course more interactive. CRS are sets of software and hardware that allow instructors to ask questions and have the individual students respond in class. Results are tabulated automatically and shown back to the students, giving instant feedback. In addition, the instructor receives a report from each CRS session, allowing me to assign credit for lass participation. With this system, I ask students to give their opinions on controversial topics, such as fire management, protection of endangered species, land-use practices, and climate change. Students see what opinions their peers are willing to express, and which solutions proposed for particular issues have general support. Use of a classroom response system encourages students to attend class regularly, learn from their peers, and (hopefully) gain a greater understanding of the course material.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/7thBiennial/Sessions/10