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Highlights from the Lunch & Learn –  March 26, 2019

About Active Learning

Example 1: Active lecturing

Example 2: Live Cases

Example 3 : Technology in the classroom

Questions & Answers

More resources

What is Active Learning?

Active learning is about “involving students in doing things and thinking about the things they are doing.” (Bonwell & Eison, 1991)

Why Active Learning?

  • It increases the content knowledge, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities of students (Anderson et al., 2005)
  • Better student engagement delivers better learner outcomes. Freeman et. al’s (2014) research and meta-analysis on 225 studies in traditional lecture settings versus active learning showed improved exam scores and student performance when active learning is implemented.

How to implement AL in the classroom?

  • Think-Pair-Share Activities: This entails having a student work alone on something, then pairing them with at least one other student, before sharing their opinions/findings with the group at large.
  • Case method and Simulations
  • One Minute Paper: Use the one-minute paper to obtain feedback from students regarding what they already know, what they’ve understood, or what they want to know more about. It’s a great tool to guide teaching.
  • Polling/Voting: Allows faculty to get instantaneous feedback from all students, and is easy to use and to implement – students can’t be passive when a question is asked, and they have to think about the question and respond.


Three examples of Active Learning strategies being used at Telfer by our professors

  • Active lecturing 

 In Management of Information System (ADM2372/2772) Prof. Benyoucef uses Active lecturing strategies. After every lecture, there’s a short quiz online (using Brightspace, even phone enabled); students know there will be a quiz so they’re more engaged in class, and the questions/results are discussed in the class room (graded, but a very small amount).  Prof. Benyoucef found this method successful so far and is willing to share his experience with other professors.

  • Live Cases

 In Introduction to Management classes (ADM1300/ADM1700):  Profs.  Daze and Archibald use Live Cases. Short articles/vignettes are written about entrepreneurs (alumni), and students in working groups have to present on them to TAs.  The best are then presented to class as a whole; the relevant alumni were invited to the class (students didn’t know) and engaged in discussion to provide their stories and solutions. This provides students with feedback on their work and a valuable networking opportunity. The presentation to class video recorded and will be a future resource.

  • Organizing the sessions proved to have some challenges , but it worked well and the students enjoyed and were engaged by it
  • It proved to be an effective way of addressing the course’s learning goals (by  moving from theoretical knowledge already gained to applied skills and knowledge)

This project is funded by Telfer Pedagogical Innovation Fund. Apply now!

  • Technology in the classroom

In International Business and uOglobal Certificate courses, Prof.  Ado uses the Voting/polling technology Mentimeter to engage his students. Using educational technology can engage naturally quiet students. He gets to see instantaneous feedback from all students when using the system during his lecture and other class activities. For example, when asking students about entrepreneurial figures, all can instantly see their answers in a word cloud displayed on the big screen.  Additionally, every week, students need to answer a question in the Brightspace online forum. In class, prof. Ado shows their threads on the screen and students can instantly like/unlike as they do in social media. This get them more engaged in the material and distract them from social media apps.  Using Active Learning strategies and technologies ensures him to get and keep his students attention.

Polling/Quiz tools: Brightspace Quiz Tool, PollEverywhere, Mentimenter, Socrative etc.Comparison of Students Response Systems (Please contact Abdul if you want try one of these tools)


Q: I am worried active learning takes more time so I won’t be able to cover all the content

A: There are ways to ensure that all required course content is addressed.  For example, Flipped classroom strategies can be used to share some content with students via the Virtual Campus outside class hours.

Q: To what extent can a Flipped classroom be applied in large classes?

A: In a flipped classroom, “Lecture content is removed from the classroom to allow time for active learning, and the content that was removed is delivered to students via on-line video. This approach ‘flips’ the traditional use of lecture and more active learning approaches. Lecture occurs outside of class, and more active learning, such as problem solving, happens during class.”[1]

Prof. Jackiewicz tried it, and about 3/4 of the student found it useful, though the other quarter reported feeling unsure about the process.  Instructors should set expectations with the students upfront and clarify that they are trying a new teaching and learning technique (get student buy-in up-front).

Instructors need to provide clear learning guides to students and must collect data to examine students’ use of the video lectures and perceptions of the classroom flip.

For an in depth understanding of Flipped classroom in the large class, please see:  “Flipping” the classroom to explore active learning in a large undergraduate course available at:

Q: How can Telfer help me to make my course more active and engaging?

A: The School has pedagogical, technical and financial support available to help faculty incorporate active learning strategies into courses.  Support is available for professors that want to write cases, create simulations or buy materials for developing active learning strategies.  Please download the application form and start taking your teaching to the next level.

Learn more about Active Learning:

[1] Zappe, S. E., Leicht, R. M., Messner, J., Litzinger, T., & Lee, H. W. (2009). “flipping” the classroom to explore active learning in a large undergraduate course. ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings.

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