Professor Amy Gottfried, LSA
Biological Sciences Building (BSB), Room 1060
CHEM 230 is an introductory Chemistry course and is a prerequisite for many programs of study. Dr. Amy Gottfried has taught the course for many years but recently began teaching it in the newest and largest team-based learning space, 1060 Biological Sciences Building (BSB). Although she had always used active learning strategies, the new space enabled her to incorporate them more deeply into her course.
Prior to each lecture session, students watch a series of video clips about the topic(s) being covered. They complete a Canvas quiz with two or three questions as an understanding check and then solve four or five practice problems.
Activities in lecture are organized so that most of the time is spent actively solving more difficult problems. Students work with their table groups, either answering individually via iClicker remotes or by writing on their team’s whiteboard. Discussion sections still focus on actively solving sample problems but attendance is optional. Students who have additional questions can use that time to get individual assistance.
The grading scheme incorporates a mix of effort-based and mastery-based assessments. Students received points for the pre-class preparation activities as well as the in-class work. Exam scores make up 75% of the total points available. Peer reviews related to students’ team contributions are a final component of the grading scheme. Students work in several different team formations throughout the semester so that they get a chance to work with a variety of classmates.
Professor Gottfried teaches from her iPad using wireless presentation technology so that she can move around the room easily. She also finds it helpful to take pictures of student work on whiteboards to share with the full class, a technique that helps students stay engaged and eliminates the need for her to write out the solution. All of her slides and the annotations from class, as well as the photos, are included in the Lecture Capture recording of the session, providing students with another study resource.
Her GSIs are a critical part of the lecture activities, assisting students as they work and identifying questions and responses and circulating microphones so they can be shared with the full group. Laminated name tags help her and the GSIs call on students, giving an easy indicator of who is absent, and ensuring that tablemates know one another by name.
A key element of the course Canvas site is the home page, which offers links to important information and resources, including the TBL Session Pre-work. Every TBL class session has a Canvas page with all the necessary materials -- the video clips for the topic, a quiz, and the pre-class practice problems. Other resources include class slides and Lecture Capture recordings as well as access to the homework tool.
“Sound amplification is key when teaching in this style of space because everyone, the instructional team as well as students, cannot always see everyone. Microphones can make up for that lack of visual connection.” Professor Gottfried
A critical in-class tool used in the team-based learning (TBL) classrooms is the Catchbox Throwable Mic, which can be tossed quickly from one student to another. Also, GSIs can distribute them as needed.
Another tool that is utilized in this course is iClicker student response systems. Professor Gottfried converted old homework problems to iClicker questions so, while students can collaborate at their tables to solve a problem, they can answer individually. Canvas quizzes are also used to provide opportunities for practice and feedback. Another tool, Piazza, serves as an online discussion board or “back channel” so students have another way to participate during class.
Finally, Professor Gottfried used the LSA Videocasting Studio to create all her pre-class videos. The space, located on the second floor of the Modern Languages Building (MLB), provides professional lighting and a teleprompter to facilitate a professional look. A touch screen and smart board monitors allow for easy screen capture.
Professor Gottfried worked with several organizations as she redesigned the course. LSA Technology Services Learning and Teaching Technology Consultants (LSATechnologyServices@umich.edu) provided in-room support during class and tips and suggestions for using the space. CRLT (firstname.lastname@example.org) was instrumental in providing resources related to group management and a host of other pedagogical issues.