What challenges were you trying to address in your class?

I teach a series of accounting subjects with relatively small internal classes. My motivation for undertaking this scholarly activity was the low level of in class engagement by international students studying the MPA. To build my knowledge and skills in this area, I attended a range of CSU training sessions, sought the advice of several CSU experts and undertook research into the field of active learning and peer instruction. Of the research, of note was (Crouch & Mazur, 2001) who reviewed strategies used to increase peer instruction. They found these strategies increased engagement and learning of the students, regardless of background knowledge. Later research has supported this and found that using peer instruction for learning diminished the gender gaps in student conceptual learning.

What did it look like?

Consequently, I implemented a range of strategies across my various MPA workshops. Initially, the students and I agreed clear expectations relating to pre class activities to be completed.

At the beginning of session, I utilised activity sheets physically completed by students, and Poll Everywhere activities. This was then followed by sharing and comparing answers, generating peer to peer learning opportunities and increased engagement and ownership of the content being learnt by the students.

Starting in week 3: four students from the class would take away a question (or part of a question) from that week and provide a 2-minute presentation to the group at the beginning of the next class. Student presentations gradually improved throughout the session and showed a level of engagement and understanding of the content matter which I had not previously witnessed. During these classes, students also completed activities in class on the whiteboard, working as part of a group. This stimulated discussion, and built their teamwork and leadership skills, which are essential skills for accounting professionals.

Poll Everywhere continued to be a fun and effective way to gauge what students understood and stimulate student led discussions around what is the correct answer and why.

Most students engaged with this change and transitioned from being passive listeners in class, to actively discussing concepts, situations and application in class. Students who did not actively participate in this peer interaction or who did not properly prepare for class, were also encouraged and pulled forward by their peers. This resulted in improved student satisfaction within the class, improved pass rates for the students and a development of new leadership skills within the cohort.

How can I make this happen?

Students present their questions allocated from the prior week at the start of class and would commence this as soon as everyone arrived.  Access a copy of my Lecture slides from ACC514 202030 which evidences the use of Poll Everywhere and in class activities. The activities on the slides were either completed by the students on the white board and as a class discussion. The activities on the slides were either completed by the students on the white board and as a class discussion.

You can start by visiting our CSU Wiki for further ideas.  You can explore the active learning and Poll Everywhere pages.

References

Crouch, C. H., & Mazur, A. (2001). Peer Instruction: Ten years of experience and results. American Association of Physics Teachers, 69(9).