With the introduction of the 3-3-4 curriculum reform, the number of large class has increased in higher education sector. The increasing freshmen students call for new strategies for student engagement and enhancement on critical thinking and problem solving skills. To effectively address the challenges concerned, this project highlighted the implementation of Student Response System (SRS) and Peer instruction (PI) in PolyU. The project spanning from fall 2013, has already involved more than 65 teachers, 1100 classes and 16,000 students.
Project Team Leader:
Dr. CHAN Hin-wang, Kevin
Department of Applied Social Sciences
More and more researchers and educators underscore the efficiency of knowledge transfer through active participation of students. Therefore, the increasing number and sizes of large classes, with fewer opportunities of in-class interactive activities, in higher education sector brings new challenges of effective learning. With an aim to engage students in a large class context, the current project propose the promotion of active learning through peer instruction, a pedagogy in which students discuss and learn from each other in a flipped classroom context, with the facilitation of student response system, an electronic device allowing students to answer questions and to get feedback instantly in class.
Peer instruction, pioneered by Prof. Eric Mazur and the Mazur Group at Harvard University, emphasizes the active participation in class through discussion on questions requiring understandings of underlying concepts in a small group setting. In large peer instruction classes, identifications of learning problems students encountered are able to attain via student response system. Clarifications of concepts are achieved through processes of asking questions and formulating answers.
The PolyU lead team has assembled 27 teachers from 5 faculties in over 10 subject areas across all levels of major and electives, and of various class sizes (i.e. 20 to 600 students). The Centre for Learning Enhancement and Research (CLEAR) will represent the Chinese University of Hong Kong as one of the partners of the project. Around 15 collaborators on the teaching front from 5 faculties at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have also been committed to this project.
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