Posts tagged Michigan State University

Creating An Active Learning Environment in College Classrooms

College enrollment for the 2018 fall academic term in the United States is expected to hit more than 20 million students according to a report from Statista. The rapid enrollment growth is putting a burden directly on professors to innovate in overcrowded lecture halls and meet the needs of Gen Z students.

These overcrowded lectures, where devices can be as much of a distraction as they are a tool, are a challenging setting to engage students. But students who don’t actively engage often lose interest in material and become less willing to apply themselves on assignments and exams. These students are also less likely to have a positive perception of their learning experience, which can be reflected in semester evaluations.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple addition or change in class structure that will empower students and encourage them to participate. However, one popular method professors in top colleges and universities are successfully incorporating is active learning. In fact, many different active learning techniques can be tailored to fit any classroom and can lead to increased engagement and a better understanding of class materials.

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Implementing Technology in College Classrooms

When Dr. Kaston Anderson-Carpenter steps in front of his psychology class at Michigan State University, he sees 175 students interacting with laptops, tablets and smartphones in a carefully constructed academic environment. His courses are filled with Gen Z students; a digital generation of non-traditional students who rely on technology to do research, access their textbooks, complete their homework and communicate with their peers and professors.

Dr. Anderson-Carpenter’s classroom is not unusual for professors teaching in the 21st century. Students are no longer thriving in traditional classrooms which expect them to passively absorb information through lectures. Instead, studies show that teaching trends are moving toward app-based learning, microlearning and mobile learning where students can take ownership of their education and consume information in a familiar way. A study from Barnes and Noble College shows that Gen Z students expect digital learning tools to be utilized on-demand with low barriers to access, to create interactive learning environments.  Since this new generation of college students expect classrooms to use digital learning tools, it’s important for professors to consider ways of implementing technology that will not only intrigue students but bring value to their education.

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Achieving Learning Objectives with Packback

Packback Questions is a tool used by professors to facilitate online discussions. With the help of AI, Packback allows professors to scale individual coaching, moderation and grading in any sized classroom.

Watch the video below to see how Dr. Kaston Anderson-Carpenter of Michigan State University, Dr. Matt Goren of the University of Georgia and Dr. Stacey Combes from the University of California, Davis use Packback to promote critical thinking and application in their courses.

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The Packback Method: Best Practices for Engaging Students

Our platform, Packback Questions, is an assistive technology designed to guide the development of curiosity and critical thinking in students. We’ve seen professors use Packback to help students fall in love with the subject matter, and we understand that a professor’s role in student growth is irreplaceable. But finding innovative ways to connect and challenge the 21st-century student can be overwhelming alongside a schedule filled with classroom prep, research, administrative duties and other commitments! The Packback Method helps by highlighting three simple steps to help busy professors connect and challenge students in 15 minutes or less!

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