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The method mimics what real scientists experience as they work their way through a problem—they identify key questions, develop hypotheses, design ways to test them, gather data, and draw conclusions, in an iterative process, refining their thinking about how to attack the problem as more information becomes available. Moreover, this method of teaching cases has been shown to be the most popular among science faculty Yadav et al.
The Interrupted Case Method has proved successful in small classes, but is difficult to administer in large fixed-seat amphitheaters. However, Brickman has had significant success, even in classes of several hundred students, using permanent small groups and Team Learning Michaelsen, Knight, and Fink with clickers. At the University at Buffalo, we have used the method with clickers with great success in a general biology class of students. The way that we have used it is simple: an instructor selects a topic, such as the HIV virus replication cycle. At each stage, students are given information and asked to predict what might happen if such and such were done.
As a hook into the problem, for example, the tragic story of tennis great Arthur Ashe, who contracted AIDS from a contaminated blood transfusion, is introduced. Also, some of the history and spread of the disease is presented. With this as background, students are asked at what point scientists might attempt to interrupt the viral reproduction cycle. Students are shown a series of options and asked to vote using their clickers, with their choices displayed as a histogram on a PowerPoint slide to the whole class.
They are told of one early attempt to control the disease using the drug AZT. Students are asked to predict what would happen if AZT were administered to a patient if the treatment worked, and shown a series of graphs following the number of virus particles in the blood over time.
Before voting, they can consult with their neighbors. The instructor, using a microphone, asks a few students their thoughts. After students vote, the real results are shown. Then another experimental scenario is presented, which continues the story line in our understanding of HIV. It is important to emphasize that this case method integrates lecture material, case scenario material, student discussion with their neighbors, clicker questions, clarification of the answers, more lecture, and data.
And the cycle is repeated. Performance on critical-thinking questions also improves and class grades rise.
Using clicker cases promises to offset many of the criticisms that have been leveled at science teaching, especially in large enrollment science courses, as it engages students in real-world problems and challenges them to think every step of the way. Lundeberg, M. DeSchryver, and N. Schiller for their help in the preparation of the manuscript. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Sign me up! Teaching and Learning in Indonesia. Skip to content. Nonetheless, some results are available Judson and Sawada ; Greer and Heaney ; Hatch, Jensen, and Moore ; Duncan , from which we have learned the following: Student enthusiasm for clickers is high.
Whether it is their novelty or actual educational value is not clear. Nonetheless, students, particularly in large science classes, report they enjoy using them and believe they help them understand the material and prepare for exams. This observation is confounded because many instructors give points for attendance, which can be more closely monitored with clickers. Nonetheless, because grades are strongly correlated with attendance, this effect must be applauded.
Student learning appears improved although this may be because of their novelty, as in the well-known Hawthorne effect.
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Faculty enthusiasm is high, at least for those individuals willing to experiment. Student apathy is much less evident. Like any classroom technique, clickers can be used well or poorly. So any project using clicker technology must have a training period associated with it. With care, critical-thinking questions can be devised that focus on synthesis, evaluation, and analysis. The technology can be problematic, especially for large classes and when using infrared systems; these difficulties are largely eliminated with radio frequency.
Rules and strategies must be established for lost, forgotten, or inoperable clickers; usually dropping the clicker scores for three to four classes out of the total will take care of the problem. The cost can be a deterrent as can be the storage of clickers. These potential difficulties can be minimized if students buy their clickers as part of the textbook package and are made responsible for them. Schools are scrambling to standardize their clicker systems so that students do not have to purchase multiple clickers for different classes.
References Beatty, I. Transforming student learning with classroom communication systems. Bloom, B. Taxonomy of educational objectives: Book 1, cognitive domain. New York: Longman.
Brickman, P. Case studies in large-enrollment courses.
Using Case Studies in the Classroom
Coleman, and C. Exploring the universe together: Cooperative quizzes with and without a classroom performance system in Astronomy Crouch, C. Peer instruction: Ten years experience and results. DeCaprariis, P.
Case Method Teaching and Learning | Columbia CTL
Impediments to providing scientific literacy to students in introductory survey courses. Draper, S. Cargill, and Q. Electronically enhanced classroom interaction. Dufresne, R. Gerace, W. Leonard, J. Mestre, and L. A classroom communication system for active learning. Duncan, D. Clickers in the classroom: How to enhance science teaching using classroom response systems.