Event Information:

  • Tue

    Perry Samson

    When and where:

    February 19, 11:30 AM, North Quad, Ehrlicher Room (room 3100) (add to calendar)

    Light lunch will be provided at 11:30 AM. The talk will begin at noon.

    Please RSVP by 12 PM on 2/17 if you will be there.

    Abstract: Many students in large survey courses are reluctant to pose verbal questions during class. Entreating students with “Any questions?” more often than not fails to produce a response and, when it does, comes from a small subset of all students. This presentation reports on the use of a backchannel in a blended course and how the backchannel affected student participation based on a priori comfort level with verbal questioning.

    The use of a backchannel increased student inquiry in class dramatically but, more importantly, its use virtually eliminated the gender bias in student inquiry often seen in science courses. It was found that the use of a backchannel had a significant positive effect on the level of participation by female students who had professed a greater discomfort with verbal questioning in the initial course survey. Additionally, a longitudinal study was conducted to identify students’ perceived value of the backchannel to improving verbal participation in subsequent courses. The longitudinal survey showed that a majority felt strongly that the availability of the backchannel was highly valuable and its availability in the first-year course changed their willingness to ask verbal questions in subsequent courses.

    Bio: Perry Samson is an Arthur Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan with appointments in the College of Engineering and the School of Information. Prof. Samson teaches courses in extreme weather and climate and air pollution modeling. Perry is also an entrepreneur as a co-founder of The Weather Underground and LectureTools and serves as a mentor for education technology internships.