Featured Instructor:

Mark Andersland, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering


Use immediate feedback and individualized instruction to improve student learning and motivation. 


  • Improve student problem solving
  • Increase student engagement
  • Improve student academic efficacy


Mark Andersland redesigned his large lecture engineering course to include active learning, student-centered instruction, frequent formative assessments, and immediate feedback, which yields increased student engagement and learning. 

00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:04,000

When you're having a dialogue with the students

is when they actually start to process

00:00:04,000 --> 00:00:08,000

because they're put on the spot,

they need to respond in real-time.

00:00:08,000 --> 00:00:12,000

And if I can make that exciting, And they're

thinking on their own, they're gonna learn.

00:00:17,000 --> 00:00:21,000

The name of this course is Electrical Circuits

00:00:21,000 --> 00:00:24,500

taught in all engineering programs to

sophomore level students.

00:00:24,500 --> 00:00:30,000

Traditionally it's been taught in large lecture format,

so we could have 200 students sitting in a lecture.


Whenever I can I try and engage the students

in, uh, solving the problems themselves.


And I first discovered how effective that

could be when I was teaching large classes


and I would offer review sessions.

And during the review sessions,


the students were directing the discussion

to things that they really wanted to know about.


And then as, uh, we were going through

the problems, I'd ask them to provide the key steps


and we'd discuss those and pretty soon

it became quite the dialogue.


The idea is if I could create that in a classroom

where I could get everybody engaged,

00:01:00,000--> 00:01:02,000

it's a lot more effective way to learn.

00:01:02,000 --> 00:01:06,000

So this is how the class works:

00:01:06,000 --> 00:01:10,000

Prior to class students get the background

that they need to complete the class work.

00:01:10,000 --> 00:01:15,000

That could include lectures, practice problems,

tutorials, short problem-solving videos.

00:01:15,000 --> 00:01:19,000

Then they come to class with that

background. And then I can give them

00:01:19,000 --> 00:01:24,000

a ten-minute mini-lecture review of

what they need to know to cover the topic

00:01:24,000 --> 00:01:27,000

And then for the remainder of the class

00:01:27,000 --> 00:01:33,000

the students work four to five problems that are

delivered by an online homework platform.

00:01:33,000 --> 00:01:39,000

They are allowed to answer

three times before they lose credit.

00:01:39,000 --> 00:01:44,000

The questions give feedback immediately so

that they know when they're in trouble, and

00:01:44,000 --> 00:01:48,000

the idea there is that they'll immediately learn if they're

doing something wrong so that they'll ask questions.

00:01:48,000 --> 00:01:51,000

Every student sees slightly different numbers.

The answers aren't the same,

00:01:51,000 --> 00:01:54,000

but the questions that they're

addressing are the same.

00:01:54,000 --> 00:01:58,000

When the student gets stuck, they can't just ask

for the answer from their neighbor,

00:01:58,000 --> 00:02:01,000

they have to ask their neighbor,

"How did you get your answer?"

00:02:01,000--> 00:02:06,000

or the neighbor has to show them, and in any case

they're focusing on the solution process.

00:02:06,000--> 00:02:11,000

Early in the class if students misunderstand,

they don't realize that that's part of the learning process,

00:02:11,000--> 00:02:14,000

all they see is the fact that

they're not succeeding the first time,

00:02:14,000--> 00:02:20,000

not recognizing that in not succeeding,

they're asking questions in the moment

00:02:20,000--> 00:02:24,000

and getting answers that will help them

never to make the same mistake again.

00:02:24,000 --> 00:02:28,000

So early results from the studies

we've done in this classroom

00:02:28,000--> 00:02:35,500

compared to conventional lecture classes have

suggested that students are more engaged,

00:02:35,500 --> 00:02:41,000

they feel more satisfied with the class,

00:02:41,000 --> 00:02:44,000

they tend to feel much more comfortable taking exams

because they've worked hundreds more problems,

00:02:44,000--> 00:02:49,000

and they score higher on average.

For the same subject, they're more satisfied.

00:02:49,000--> 00:02:56,000

And most interesting, they report spending less

time out of class preparing for better performance.

00:02:56,000--> 00:03:03,000

The scholarship of teaching and learning is helping me

to try things – be willing to try things.

00:03:03,000--> 00:03:06,500

So how this might apply to other

disciplines – the big takeaways:

00:03:06,500--> 00:03:10,000

The space is important. When

you walk into an active learning space

00:03:10,000 --> 00:03:13,000

such as our TILE classrooms,

the tables are round.

00:03:13,000 --> 00:03:17,000

That tells the students something's gonna be different

in this classroom from the time that they walk in.

00:03:17,000 --> 00:03:23,500

What's essential? Foster discussion about process,

as opposed to simply answers.

00:03:23,500 --> 00:03:26,000

And you do that by giving people a common question.

00:03:26,000 --> 00:03:30,000

So the next key is that when you present

whatever it is that you're presenting to the groups,

00:03:30,000--> 00:03:35,000

each student should have a different piece.

Everybody gets a slightly different problem

00:03:35,000 --> 00:03:41,000

but there's enough commonality that they can

share their insights and build a collective vision

00:03:41,000--> 00:03:45,000

towards “We can all get a good grade if

we all work together” and this is gonna be be fun.

00:03:45,000--> 00:03:48,000

So I think you can set that up in any class.

00:03:48,000--> 00:03:54,000

So in that moment they're ready to learn, and

that's what's very interesting about this approach.

00:03:54,000--> 00:03:58,000

They get immediate feedback,

they can turn to their neighbor

00:03:58,000--> 00:04:01,000

and get instantaneous help from

someone working on the same problem:

00:04:01,000--> 00:04:05,000

So it's fixed, and it sticks

because they have an “aha” moment.