I talked to Malou (ECE) and Maita (Polsci) before the start of the morning TFI session, and I found myself talking about what I learned from teaching CS21A. They thought I was doing some pretty cool things - e-mail conversations, exercises, notes instead of lectures...

The paper I read yesterday raises some issues that I need to consider. I will be helping freshmen students learn computing, and they might have a hard time adjusting to student-centered learning as it is not the kind of instruction they were used to in high school. However, this might be a good thing - computer science in college and in high school are completely different. (Or that could be a very bad thing - novel content _and_ novel methodology.)

Student-centered learning
When is learning student-centered?
Rudy Ang, Dean of SOM

Surprise quiz. Agree/disagree and why. (This will be fun, and it's a good way of starting discussion. =) )

In a perfectly student-centered class, the role of the teacher becomes less and less important. Because self-study is ideal, self-directed learning modules should be designed, and teacher-student interaction should be limited.

1. Disagree. The teacher needs to guide students' learning, observe

them to find out where the students are having problems, and guide and encourage them to learn more effectively. Also, teachers can help students analyze, discuss and reflect on the topics at hand.

A distance learning mode is the perfect mode of student-centered learning: pace is self-regulated, study is self-directed.

2. Disagree. Students can also greatly benefit from interaction with

other students because they can discuss and debate important issues, and they can learn from other people's perspectives. A distance education course might not always allow students to interact in a lively, real-time manner.

To be student-centered, the teacher must develop the ability to listen, rather than to speak.

3. Agree. Listening is more important than it used to be. At the same

time, teachers still need to know how to speak effectively - how to ask questions, how to explain things clearly, how to communicate important points.

The straight-lecture method is the least preferred method of instruction in the student-centered learning framework.

4. It depends on the other methods in the framework, but I agree.

Straight lectures tend to be whole-class, and while the lecture is a good way of introducing a large amount of material (and it's quite effective if done well), it must not be the only tool.

The be student-centered, the student should not state conclusions; rather, he or she should allow the students to arrive at the conclusions on their own.

5. Somewhat. We shouldn't dictate the conclusions, but a summary of

the conclusions reached by the class at the end is pretty useful.

A discussion class will always be more student-centered than a lecture class. The role of the teacher should be to raise questions and issues, rather than to present the answers.

6. It depends on how the discussion is handled. Lectures can be quite

thought-provoking, too.

'Learning how to learn' is another way of describing student-centered learning.

7. That's a very important skill. Learning how to learn is not always

covered in conventional topics. But they are related concepts and not the same. {Important, but not the only part - we also have to teach them content and skills. Also, even non-student-centered learning concerns itself with this.}

Student-centered learning is the logical extension of cura personalis.

8. Agree. Cura personalis also means helping students learn how to

learn, and providing them with opportunities to create and use their knowledge.

Demonstration classes

Especially student-centered

  • outline of what needs to be learned
  • interesting trivia
  • can anyone tell us what that means? drawing it out, real examples, good use of humor. =)
  • vivid examples to demonstrate an idea, explaining concepts
  • not hiding behind the podium
  • plain language
  • emphasizes and restates important points
  • demonstration
  • asking for people's opinions
  • group discussion, pairs
  • practical demos
  • individual predictions, approximations
  • prediction first, then confirmation: hypothesis and experiment, scientific process
  • knows many people by name
  • frequent breaks for discussion, laughter
  • multistage experiment, vivid
  • voting
  • confirmation of results using instruments - good physics practice!
  • reflection on process, cite other examples
  • encouraging different explanations
  • try to apply lesson to the experiment to explain results different from prediction
  • emphasize important things

Detracted from student learning

  • definition of terms can be elicited from the class.
  • don't have the results sheet yet (need a liiittle more preparation?)
  • should not explain the actual conclusion (balance of forces)
  • more student handson
  • more student response

I wonder if there's a way I can do computer science as an experiment... =)

situational leadership?

Four aspects of an SLC environment
- role and responsibilities of the teacher - role and responsibilities of the student - quality of the student-teacher interaction - mode of learning
My thoughts

I just thought of another good idea. I'll give individual pretests first, and have them learn the material in small groups (twos or threes). The small-group discussions will be occasionally merged into a class discussion, maybe?

I am definitely going to give Super Lemon during the first day.

I want students to reflect on how they're learning a language.


I'll be meeting Jal and the other MOO people later. My role in that project will probably be more of a technical consultant working with the French teachers. I can be the MOO wizard programming the funkier objects and nonplayer characters.

Video orbits

What do I need in order to get started? First, I have to find some way of getting an image source


I should talk to the other departments about how they use technology to support classroom learning. For example, I'm planning a portfolio-based system.