June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.916.1 - 23.916.18
Muddiest Point Formative Feedback in Core Materials Classes with YouTube, Blackboard, Class Warm-ups and Word CloudsCritical class reflections on “Muddiest Points”, i.e. the content students struggle to grasp most,provide formative feedback to an instructor who can strategize to adjust his/her teaching andpedagogy to address issues specific to a given class. In a Muddiest Point Reflection an instructorsolicits from students a brief, anonymous written comment about difficult concepts or otherissues that arose during the class. It is also possible now to easily and efficiently collect andreview Muddiest Point reflection responses via the web on the cyber-enabled ConceptWarehouse web site http://cw.edudiv.org, which also has large sets of concept-based clickerquestions (or ConcepTests) for core chemical engineering classes as well as a set of clickerquestions for an introductory materials science class. The Muddiest Point method allows studentsto reflect on their own learning over the whole class and highlight specific issues that may havearisen on a particular aspect of content, concepts or procedures related the topic being taught.Self-efficacy of students can also increase because a class can be designed so that newinformation is based on students' prior knowledge, in which they hopefully have confidence, andcan potentially motivate them to better learn. The critical class reflections also provide a clearand easy way to track the attitudes, understanding, and learning approaches of the students in theclass. Addressing learning issues as quickly as possible with rapid feedback is an important partof effective teaching and consists of first assessing and evaluating students' knowledge andunderstanding of a topic. Then it is possible to give meaningful feedback and adjust teachingstrategies as informed by both student progress as well as issues. The feedback should be thetype of information that is related to attainment of learning goals that are directed towardsperforming a task or understanding a concept. Feedback directed toward learning goals which arevalued by students has the potential to increase motivation and persistence in achieving thegoals. The collective set of responses from a given class can be evaluated by an instructor andsynthesized into feedback to be delivered to students in different ways.In this collaborative research project on more effective teaching in core materials classes,instructors at different institutions are using different methods of communicating feedback tostudents from their responses to Muddiest Point reflections. The research question here is, "Whatis the effect on student learning and attitude of differing modes of feedback from students'Muddiest Point reflections?" One method is to restructure the notes from a given class and placethe set on Blackboard so the new notes respond to student issues raised in Muddiest Points. Thiscan reinforce class learning, clarify muddy points, and potentially assist in solving homeworkproblems. Another method is to create Muddiest Point YouTube screencasts, such as the ones atwww.youtube.com/user/MaterialsConcepts, which can be viewed by students to help resolvedifficult concepts and also assist in solving homework problems. A third method is with ClassWarm-ups, which consist of a slide or two for discussion at the beginning of the next class whichcan help clarify confusing or difficult-to-grasp concepts. A final supplemental approach is toincorporate Word Clouds in any of the feedback methods. This allows students to visually assessand share what their most significant issues may be, with the Muddiest Point frequency of agiven word from an issue revealed by the size of its word in the Word Cloud. Differentinstructors using the different methods of Muddiest Point feedback have all reported positivestudent attitudes and improved engagement and learning from preliminary assessments.Additional detail and results will be reported in the full paper.
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