Dr Terry Brown
Dr Terry Brown.

I used IF-AT (Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique) scratch cards in my large (250 students) lecture for first year students in mechanical and mechatronic engineering. I have previously used multiple choice questions with show of hands and web-enabled ‘clicker’ response as part of my interactive lectures. However, I wanted something to help facilitate more collaborative activity amongst the students when using the multiple choice questions. Despite being a large class in a large tiered lecture theatre it worked very well. I continue to use the IF-AT scratch cards as part of my teaching and learning strategy in large and small classes.

My favourite technology or tool…

Doceri and my iPad. Doceri is a type of electronic whiteboard app that I use to pre-record illustrated and narrated explanations of how to solve typical engineering problems. Students greatly value being able to watch these online at any time and as many times as they want. But the real value for me, is that it frees up time during on-campus classes to get students to work on solving problems individually and collaboratively so that my teaching staff and I can assist and guide students where they’re at with their learning. It enables us to ask students questions about what they are doing and why they are doing it that way. This helps to bring out misconceptions and to show students that there are different ways of thinking about and solving a problem. It also gives them better opportunities to ask us and each other questions and to discuss and apply the knowledge and understanding that we are constructing together.

A lecture theatre full of students, one of Terry's large classes
IF-AT scratch cards are especially useful for large classes like this one.

What gives me the most joy in teaching…

Working collaboratively with students and guiding them in their learning, particularly as they work on hands-on design and build activities in the mechanical design studio. It’s very satisfying to hear the students’ common exclamation “it works!” when they test the device they have designed, built and gotten to work.

Some publications I read for inspiration are…

Petty, G. (2006). Evidence based teaching: a practical approach. Cheltenham, Nelson Thomas.

Biggs, J. and Tang, C. (2007). Teaching for Quality Learning at University: what the student does. 3rd Ed. Maidenhead, Open University Press/McGraw Hill.

An external shot of the Studio Ghibli museum in Japan, a grey concrete building covered in green vines.
The Studio Ghibli Museum in Japan. Image credit: Kim Ahlström, CC BY 2.0.

On my next trip I’m going to…

I am going to Japan in late November for a holiday for four weeks with my wife and three (young adult) children. Particularly looking forward to staying on a farm in the Kyoto countryside for a few days. Hoping to be able to get tickets to Hayao Miyazaki’s Animation World – Ghibli Museum in Tokyo.

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