Heidi Maurer


  1. Connection to existing student knowledge: other course; real life
  2. Puzzles not topics or "the literature"
  3. Vary type of activity and complexity of assignments
    1. focus is understanding
    2. focus is applying
  4. Not about content but what skills are we trying to develop
  5. Watch out for texts just being another form of lecture notes - keep text short so it is an inspiration, a jumping off point, not a substitute or crutch.
  6. Three things learned about "how to present assignments"
    1. keep it short
    2. Don't give it too much structure. Allow it to be confusing. Allow it to require structuring by student. Leave space for discovery (of what the problem really is).
    3. Balance guiding for convergence with pushing for divergence
  7. Effective Problem? Encourage student to discover topic/puzzle. Recognize timing is different from lecture. Don't assess too early. In pre-discussion, expect confusion and wrong answers. As instructor, take notes about how things are going, what people seem to get or not get. Be explicit with tutors about what learning you are trying to accomplish. Keep it simple: if it takes longer to explain than to do…
Piet Leroy and Ben Janssen

Medicine and pharmacy teaching four week intro module for undergraduate medical students. Module on water.

  1. Build case around a story - refugee camp. It engages and allows students to put themselves in a career position that many have contemplated.
  2. Lots of hours talking with colleagues ahead of time about what to put in and what to leave out. Then write up the case and really every word is selected as in or out.
  3. First we describe the setting and then we decide what are the learning goals of the module. For each, we think about how deep into the basic science we go and what will be relevant to these students as future doctors. Then we make a list of 7 or 8 problems. Use different methods for each. Some standard stories, some are pseudo-patients, some might be artifacts (microscope slides), etc.
  4. Here the problems involve deciding on what to do and much of the learning comes in the fact that we have to ask lots of questions about each doing decision. Why this? How much that?
Sjoke Merk
  1. In pre-discussion, one piece is getting students to understand what they already know (i.e., you tell them - it's not just about asking) and then you tell them what they will learn in the homeworks and how this connects to what they already know and point toward what they will be able to apply to the problems.
  2. 15-20 "descriptive tasks" per class…connect what they know to what they are about to learn…
  3. constant critical evaluation - is this working? did it work? what should we change?
Menno Knetsch (science)
  1. Inspirations: what's happening in the real world + what's of interest to these students now + what's relevant in science now?
  2. Example: problem related to plastic bags policy.