, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 109-119

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

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Abstract

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.