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Obtaining student responses
Obtaining feedback is extra hard when you cannot see your students.
- Persistence does pay off. Keep actively soliciting feedback regularly throughout the class.
- You can:
- ask for answers to a question
- ask students if they understand
- ask if students have any questions.
- Positively reinforce students when they do interact.
- Use an anonymous response method, e.g. whiteboard annotation.
- Specific questions/directions work better than more general questions/directions.
- More effective questions/instructions:
- What theorem do we need to use here? Write its name in the chat if you know, otherwise write “don’t know”
- Do this calculation on your calculator and write your answer in the chat.
- I want to see if I have explained this clearly enough. If you this makes sense to you, press the thumbs up button. If you don’t understand, press the thumbs down button.
- Read all of the questions on the sheet. Choose one to work on now. Write your choice into the chat.
- I have set up a poll for you. Please select the three questions that you most want to go over in this class.
- Less effective questions/instructions:
- Look at Q3. What’s the answer?
- How do you do Q5?
- Have a go at the problems.
- Asking “What questions do you have?” can work better than “Do you have any questions?” because it assumes that the students should have questions.
- Make sure students know that they can message you with questions privately in chat, and can annotate screens anonymously. This makes some students feel more comfortable.
- If you have a really silent tutorial class where you struggle to get any student response, try starting out by doing one question to give the students time to settle in before you ask them to interact. Begin by asking them simple questions (e.g. for the numerical answer to the problem you have just done for them, or for a theorem definition that they need to use in the problem).
- It is fine to ask students by name for an answer, but be prepared with a plan B if they don’t respond. Be careful not to always end up asking the same few students because you know they will respond.