THE CLASS HANDOUT… SHOULD IT BE GIVEN BEFORE OR AFTER CLASS?
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Abstract:The current trend in mainstream University teaching reveals that students feel more confident if a class handout is available to them before they attend a particular lesson. In this context, we decided to plan a comparative study aiming to evaluate to what extent the availability of previously given handouts affects the comprehension of the class. The handout was a copy of the PowerPoint presentation that the teacher used as a visual resource during her lectures, and contained schematic and incomplete information that should have been completed by notes taken during the lecture.
This study was conducted at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, with first year students of the Licenciatura en Biotecnología (Degree in Biotechnology), during the second half of the academic term 2007-08. The course during which the study was performed was Termodinámica y Cinética Química (Thermodynamics and Chemical Kinetics), a 60 hour course with two different groups of 50 students each. The programme of this course is clearly divided into two halves, each taught by a different teacher. Both teachers alternated their lectures with both groups (A and B) on a weekly basis.
The experience reported here was carried out by the teacher of Chemical Kinetics, whose classes involve participative lectures that alternate between theory and problems solving.
The procedure was as follows: over one week, the students in group B attended lessons with no handout previously given. At the end of the week, the handout was published so that the students in group A could use it at class over the next week.
The publication of the presentation was done using “PoliformaT”, the educational platform of the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia. This powerful tool is a virtual space where teachers, students and staff at the University are able to share information and manage teaching tasks and studies.
Outcome measures included:
1) the opinion and impressions of the students regarding the relevance of having the handout beforehand, which was evaluated using specially designed questionnaires
2) the final grades of the students in both groups.
The results were satisfactory in both groups. However, they showed that there were no significant differences in 1) or 2), which suggests that it was not important whether students had a handout before or after the lecture.
We are aware that several variables that may have affected the results of our study were not controlled for, but future research will include further study of the factors which may affect the academic success of the students.
Keywords: note-taking, net generation, qualitative research.