Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 109-119

First online:

The Use of E-Mail and In-Class Writing to Facilitate Student–Instructor Interaction in Large-Enrollment Traditional and Active Learning Classes

  • Gili Marbach-AdAffiliated withSchool of Education, Tel-Aviv University Email author 
  • , Phillip G. SokoloveAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland Baltimore County

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Student–instructor communication was examined in freshman biology classes taught either in traditional lecture style or by using a variety of student-centered, active learning approaches to engage students in the learning process (cooperative learning groups, wireless microphones, permanent name tags, in-class and out-of-class writing). In both classes students were encouraged to send questions, comments, and suggestions to the instructor via e-mail. In the active learning class, students also wrote in-class notes to the instructor. All messages could be classified as either content-related or procedural. More content-related messages were received in the active learning class than in the traditional class. Also, the percentage of students who sent content-related messages was much higher in the active learning class than in the traditional class. Finally, content-related messages from students in the active learning class were generally more thoughtful and insightful than those from students in the traditional class.

e-mail messages introductory biology course active learning student–instructor communication