Posts tagged online discussions

Exploring Packback: Experimental Psychology Students Debate Trending Topics

Students are exposed to different information and opinions from the media every day. In fact, according to a survey conducted by MSNBC and the Wall Street Journal, Americans are more divided than ever. With Packback students participate in academic discussions with their peers to question information and make connections between lecture, life experiences and current events. One group of Experimental Psychology students from The University of Alabama spent a semester asking thought-provoking questions and refining their views on trending topics.

These students brought ideas from the media and Hollywood to the classroom by adding credible sources into the mix. Students even sparked conversations that questioned the role of psychology in society. Some of the most popular topics of the semester included the rehabilitation of criminals, pretrial psychology evaluations and the role of ethics in scientific advancement.
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Engaging Students in Large Lectures

How a Harvard Professor brought intimate discussion and student engagement to a large introductory course at the University of California, Davis. 

After teaching at Harvard University for seven years, Dr. Stacey Combes was excited to pursue tenure at the University of California, Davis. But transferring to UC-Davis meant trading intimate, discussion-driven classes for amphitheaters filled with hundreds of non-majors. Even with years of teaching experience and a number of prestigious awards for teaching undergraduates, Dr. Combes knew that connecting with more than 400 students and keeping the class engaged would be a challenge. Especially since this was her first time teaching Animal Behavior.

“I was really just trying to scramble and figure out what to do and to talk to colleagues to get advice,” says Dr. Combes. “I had a bunch of colleagues who teach [Animal Behavior] give me their lecture notes. A lot of the older professors who have more experience in the topic, their lectures would just be a picture and three words and I am like, ‘What am I supposed to say? What book do I use? What do I cover in this course?’”  

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