Home » 2016 Spring » Freeman on Linear Regression, Active Learning; Pairs for Observations

Freeman on Linear Regression, Active Learning; Pairs for Observations


Attending: Kristin, Tara, Jennifer, Daniel, Emral, Azure, Patrick, Shoshana.

Explained proposal to informally observe one another’s classes & teaching strategies this semester. Will assign pairs to work together.

(1) Linear Regression Paper

In our own experience, nonrandom student enrollment and other factors such as instructor do affect any conclusions about effects of interventions.

In assessment, factors such as GPA might need to be collected to validate conclusions (here, at KCC).

Will adoption of these methods reduce the number of “publishable” studies (those finding an effect of interventions)? Would this be a disincentive to use these methods? (Depends on the editors of the journals & whether they’re aware of this issue.)

(2) Active Learning Paper

A bit melodramatic, considering the broad definition of active learning — who doesn’t do at least some of this each lecture?

Some concepts require worked examples and relatively longer explanation (as discussed in a previous semester).

Active learning can often seem to improve learning, but mask a deeper misconception until later.

Experience with students analyzing probability of life on Mars, but not actually understanding what a molecule is.

“Black box” or abstract concepts are not interesting to students (by their own report).

Tangible concepts, or at least tangible models, seem to help most students. But, abstract thinking can be critical to new insights. So how do we encourage/teach/help them practice abstract thinking?

Most, maybe all beginning students just learn the “mechanics” — definitions, procedures — without necessarily deeply understanding the concepts at first.

Students in the elementary algebra class, required to “double-check” answers by plugging in your solution & seeing if it comes out as it should. This is shown/practiced in class, but on the exam, students are perplexed by how to do/interpret (particularly how to do the check). This is interesting: What is the issue? Can we identify it? Do they really understand what “equals” means? This is a major problem in math, and a predictor of success. Focusing on “equals” in class/or focusing on checks, has not made a difference yet.

Focusing on some concept in class, including an active-learning exercise, sends a message to students that it’s important.

(3) Pairings for Observation

  • Daniel – Shoshana
  • Emral – Azure
  • Kristin – Pat
  • Tara & Jen to visit Daniel’s M2 class

Pairs to email each other to arrange; discuss next time.


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