An integrated approach to encourage student-centered learning: A first course in dynamics

Marion Birch, Niels Walet


One of the most significant challenges facing Higher Education today is getting students to take responsibility for their own learning. In Science and Engineering this is complicated by the decline in the mathematical and problem solving skills of students entering university. Several techniques for addressing these issues have been applied to the Dynamics module on the first year Physics course at the University of Manchester over the last two years. These include the use of Just-in-Time Teaching, e-learning and e-assessment, interactive voting systems and peer instruction. We first encourage students to start to construct their own understanding via e-learning and then challenge their understanding during a lecture-based session using an interactive voting system. This is followed by more e-learning, which features formative e-assessment, and by a staff-supervised problem session using the Just-in-Time Teaching approach. Thus we have been able to improve student engagement with the course material and have achieved a significant improvement in examination performance. This paper will describe the implementation of the various new techniques and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.

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New Directions in the Teaching of Natural Sciences

eISSN: 2753-4138

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