What can be learned from teaching in a workshop space
Students working collaboratively in CB06.04.40
Associate Professor Kendal McGuffie wanted to increase his large student cohort's physical and intellectual engagement with science concepts, so he moved them away from the traditional lecture format and into a more collaborative space.
What changes were initiated
Associate Professor McGuffie started rearranging the first-year subject by halving the amount of lectures and the class-size. Rather than having 160 students sitting seemingly passively in a lecture, students are now able to work collaboratively in two groups of 80 in a workshop, which is now the preferred face-to-face time. The workshops were part of a larger change to the subject, which also looked at how the content was presented and how it was assessed.
Why the changes were introduced
The workshops were introduced to deal with a number of issues in the subject, such as improving retention, encouraging networking and broadening the range of skills used.
How the changes were implemented
Associate Professor McGuffie planned four 30-minute activities for the workshop sessions:
These workshop sessions took place in the collaborative pod classroom, set up for large group- and project-work with 12 pods and a capacity of 88.
Having arrived at class, the students had up to 10 minutes to get used to the space, and familiarise themselves with the technology and the pod arrangement of the room. Associate Professor McGuffie organised the students into small groups to allow a team dynamic to occur, with skill-sharing and division of tasks.
Challenges and considerations
Associate Professor McGuffie noted the following observations, suggestions and challenges:
Delving even deeper