Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Active Learning Activities - Don Gaber, Information Systems

Not being an Information Systems major myself, it is hard to imagine working on a database all by my lonesome: I would most certainly need a group of people by my side in order to work effectively with RAM instead of effectively RAMming my head against a wall.  Professor Don Gaber gives his students a chance to do just this (the group work, that is, not the self-inflicted head-wounding) in our latest installment of the “Active Learning Activities” series:

Setting: Problem-based activities involving students working in pod groups (8 pods with 2-5 students per pod) and Q&A with the whole class

Setup for the activity: Students initially learned various database concepts and techniques through self-learning (flipped course) by reading and completing hands-on exercises out of class.
Next, in class we held a Q&A session to help clarify the concepts or answer any questions.
The Q&A is followed by instructor-led hands-on activities to repeat some of the hands-on exercises to reinforce learning, along with alternative solutions and perspectives (different ways to complete similar processes, such as creating advanced database queries).

How the activity unfolded in the classroom: The active learning "problem-solving" activity is held during the next class session when the instructor has one student from each group logon to the pod PC and download a "startup" database file containing the basic criteria outlining the desired results they should obtain. Students must work together to "solve the problem" by collaborating and selecting and using several of the methods learned over the past week. The instructor circulates to check progress and answer questions. Finally, each group, one at a time, displays their pod PC screen to the all of the screens in the classroom and shares and demonstrates their solution to the class.

After the activity: The various methods, concepts, and techniques are discussed in another brief Q&A session, and then students apply and use them as appropriate on their individual student database development projects. The various concepts are also included on D2L-based unit exams with m/c, t/f, selection, and fill-in-the-blank questions. The majority of assessment comes from individual database development projects.

Additional comments from instructor: "Students have achieved higher scores on exams and their individual database development projects as a result of these hands-on ‘problem-solving’ activities."

Tip provided by Don Gaber
Write-up by Jon Pumper

No comments:

Post a Comment