Tuesday, September 13, 2011

About 304.

I was thinking about some possible changes to the way of teaching 304 next semester. So I am writing myself a note. Here is the thought:
  • I will start to encourage my students to come up with their research questions in Week 1. Probably will provide them with some potential fields/areas, just to inspire their ideas.
  • Based on their interests, I will put them into groups, and assign them with research articles which investigate theories or phenomena in that specific field which they are interested in.
  • Each group will replicate the study in the assigned article with the rest of their classmates as participants. That means that in the first third of the semester there will be one day of lectures and one day of such activities every week
  • In the second third, we will work on their original study ideas; and in the last third, we will analyze the data and report results.
This new plan demands me to teach really interactively: Class readings have to be prominent to students' respective interests; More thoughts will need to be put into class design beforehand; More effort will be needed to ensure the replication studies work out well, and that these studies better represent different kinds of research methods! I and my students have to work together very efficiently to complete all these tasks within 16 weeks! I will also have to think of a way to evaluate their performance and learning collectively and individually.

But by doing so, students will be able to learn by doing. I always believe that it is the best way of learning. More importantly, they get to work on things that really interest them from Day 1. I hope that they will find it enjoyable than a "traditional" method class.

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