C. Boesch, K. Steppe

Singapore Management University (SINGAPORE)
We have developed a process to increase student engagement in team-based learning environments. In our experience, different classes can react very differently when asked if there are any questions related to the pre-class work. Some classes consist of students who do not like to ask questions and some classes contain a few students who like to ask lots of questions that may not represent the rest of the class. We’ve also found that the number of students and the configuration of the classroom can have an impact on how many questions students ask. As classes become larger, a smaller percentage of the students will end up asking questions to consume the available question and answer time. This may lead to students finding it easier to abstain from asking questions as they realize that only a small portion of the class will ask questions or be called upon to ask questions. It is also possible that as the class becomes larger, the questions asked by individual students may be less representative of the overall class. And finally, in technology-enabled classes where students are allowed to use laptops and smartphones, the distractions caused by these devices may prevent many students from carefully listening to the questions asked by other students and individually answered by the instructor. We have developed a process to address many of these issues in our own classes. In our process, students are required to write down a question on an index card at the start of every class, review their questions in teams of four, and select the best question from their team to submit to the instructor. This process leads to more questions being asked, more group discussion, better questions being filtered up for class discussion, and better student preparation for class since each student knows that they will be required to submit a question for a group discussion each week and that their submitted question may be anonymously shared with the class and publicly answered by the instructor. We will discuss the process that has evolved over the past few terms that allows us to flexibly and efficiently use this process in a variety of university courses.