A few months back I wrote a blog post on the power of the IF-AT ‘scratch card’.  The IF-AT card is a fantastic little tool that fosters engagement in classrooms, and most important, provides students with immediate feedback.

At UTS we now have a growing number of academics who, like me, see the value of the cards.  Most of these users were originally introduced to the cards at my active and collaborative learning workshop.  They then ‘took that next step’ and tried them out for themselves.  They had success and have now adopted the cards as part of their in-class learning design.

In this Q&A session I chat with Jacqueline Berry, who has been using the cards for a couple of years now.  Jacqueline is an employee of SeerPharma and an honorary associate of the Graduate School of Health, teaching in the Master of Good Manufacturing Practice in the Discipline of Pharmacy.  Jacqueline also teaches undergraduate students in the Faculty of Science for a 7 week module of the ‘Biobusiness’ subject. She uses the scratch cards in both subjects.


Adam: Hi Jacqueline, thanks for your time. You have used the IF-AT cards a few times now.  Can I start by asking why do you use them?

Jacqueline: I use the cards because compared to other quiz techniques, this method allows the students to present and defend their ideas with their peers and then have a second and third chance to consider their collective knowledge. Many other quiz formats are time pressured and/or you only get one chance to get it right. So I think these cards offer a more formative learning opportunity. I also find that students respond well to them. They are sufficiently novel that the students are excited to have a go and sufficiently competitive for the students to care if they get the answers right. That adds up to good student motivation.

Adam: It’s great that you use the cards.  Do you remember why you originally decided you use them?  I mean, not every person that attends my workshop requests some cards to trial. Why did you?

Jacqueline: I saw how effective they were in the workshop in terms of encouraging discussion and challenging group participants to persuade other group members of the correctness of their ideas.

Adam: Are you able to tell me how you use the cards?  There are lots of ways in which people use the cards as part of their learning design.  How do you use them?

Jacqueline: I use the cards infrequently (to ensure they remain exciting and novel). Usually only twice per semester per cohort. I use them at the end of a learning module to recap/reinforce the topic knowledge and sometimes I use them as revision at the end of semester. Generally they are used in group of 4 – 8.

Adam: What’s the response from students? What do they say about the cards and/or your learning design?

Jacqueline: The students love them! Here are some comments they have made:

‘‘This is the best quiz ever!’

 ‘I really rate these cards!’

Adam: You use the cards in both your undergraduate and postgraduate classes. Are both groups equally receptive to the cards?

Jacqueline: Yes, they are equally receptive.

Adam: That’s it from me. Many thanks for your time. Any closing comment about the cards?

Jacqueline: They are a really good tool for helping students articulate their ideas and learn to explain their understanding to others. Very motivating for students.

Take that next step

It gives me great pleasure to share this Q&A session with you.  Jacqueline ‘took that next step’ and has built an effective learning design around the cards. I have no doubt that you could too.

If you want to learn more about the cards, take a look at the official website here.

UTS academics are welcome to get some cards from me or contact me to talk further about them,  just send me an email.

Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash

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