2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:55 AM


WILCOX, Jeffrey D.1, ALLEN, Richard M.1 and BAHR, Jean M.2, (1)Geology and Geophysics, Univ of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706-1695, (2)Geology and Geophysics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706-1695, jwilcox@geology.wisc.edu

The use of student response technology (SRT) has been implemented to promote interactive learning in a large-format introductory geology course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Spring 2004 class consisted of 116 non-geology majors, most of whom were underclassmen taking their first or second college-level science course. During a typical 50-minute lecture, the instructor asked two or three multiple choice or true/false questions related to lecture materials that day, and students answered using individual remote control-like response pads. Responses were recorded in the system’s software and accounted for a total of 10% of students’ final course grades – 5% for participation and 5% for correct answers.

The effects of SRT on student learning were tested using repeated multiple choice test questions from previous semesters. Initial results indicate improved retention of material that had been delivered with student interaction, but no improvement of concepts not directly tested using SRT. The most noticeable impact from using SRT was increased lecture attendance. The average lecture attendance during the Spring 2004 semester (93%) was significantly higher than estimated average attendance during previous semesters (50-70%). While this improvement was due to inclusion of SRT participation in final grades, it did not come at the cost of increased complaints about the course. In fact, students expressed an appreciation for being provided additional motivation to attend class. SRT was also utilized in weekly discussion sections, where additional time and a small-group setting allowed for further discussion than was possible in lecture.

This talk will further describe our use of SRT in large lecture and smaller discussion section settings, as well as the methods we have used to track student improvement as a result of SRT.