Breakout session B:
JiTT - Technologies to transform & assess learning through the JiTT pedagogy

Breakout session B:
JiTT - Technologies to transform and assess learning through the Just-in-time-teaching pedagogy

Saturday, November 22, 2003
2:30 - 4:00 pm

Evelyn T. Patterson, Professor of Physics- U.S. Air Force Academy
Gregor M. Novak, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Physics- U.S. Air Force Academy

The literature on college teaching has been enhanced by a shift from teacher centered activity — primarily lecturing and presentation skills — to what the student does (Barr & Tagg, 1995). The emphasis shifted to understanding, active and collaborative learning, technology, assessment, and practices informed by faculty research in their disciplines. Since much of the responsibility for learning is up to the students, teachers enhance learning by helping students to improve their study skills and to develop metacognitive thinking rather than changing the teaching performance (Angelo and Cross, 1993). One way to set high expectations is to demand serious effort on out-of-class assignments. The advent of web technology in the late 90’s created an environment in which students have access to around the clock support structure that was unthinkable in the pre-internet era.

In this session, we examine some creative uses of the web to support classroom teaching and learning with in-depth attention given to the Just-in-Time Teaching strategy, JiTT, developed by the presenters and their colleagues over the past seven years (Novak et. al., 1999). The key feature of JiTT is the creation of a feedback loop between in-class and out-of-class learning. The pre-class warmup exercise prepares for the student-faculty interaction. This timely activity breaks down the student-faculty and student-student anonymity barrier, a feature of particular importance in a large enrollment classes.

Recently we have extended the loop to include post-instruction web-based assignments which attempt to help students master the learning process as well as the subject matter content. The technique has been developed in the introductory physics courses (N = 500) at the U.S. Air Force Academy. An interesting feature of the approach is that the electronic assignments not only deal with the subject matter, but also attempt, with considerable success, to promote the development of meta-cognitive skills, often ignored in traditional instruction.

With hands-on examples from physics and other science disciplines we will illustrate the JiTT approach, which is applicable in all learning situations. The participants will leave the session with a set of start-up tools to take to their own classrooms.