This month’s installment is on Just-in-Time Teaching, or JiTT for short. This teaching and learning strategy requires web-based study assignments completed by the students before class and is meant to promote an active learner classroom, though virtually all JiTT instruction occurs in a classroom with human instructors. The web materials, are added as a pedagogical resource to which students respond, and which are due shortly before class. The instructor reads the student submissions “just-in-time” to adjust the classroom lesson to suite the students’ needs. Thus, the heart of JiTT is the “feedback loop” formed by the students’ outside-of-class preparation that fundamentally affects what happens during the subsequent in-class time together.
WarmUps are the heart of the JiTT web component. These are short, web-based assignments, prompting the student to think about the upcoming lesson and answer a few simple questions prior to class. Students are expected to develop the answer as far as they can on their own, no prior instruction on the topic is required. The instructor then finishes the job in the classroom. These assignments are due just a few hours before class time. The responses are delivered to the instructor electronically to form the framework for the classroom activities that follow. Typically, the instructors duplicates sample responses, e.g., on transparencies, and takes them to class. The interactive classroom session, built around these responses, replaces the traditional lecture/recitation format.
In preparing WarmUp assignments for an upcoming class meeting, the instructor first creates a conceptual outline of the lesson content. This task is similar to the preparation of a traditional passive lecture. As the instructor works on the outline, attention is payed to the pedagogical issues that the instructor needs to focus on when in the classroom. Are new concepts being introduced? Is the instructor building on a previous lesson? What are the important points that we wish the students to remember from the session? Once this outline has been created, the instructor can create broadly based questions that will lead students to grapple with as many of the issues as possible. Student responses then provide the framework on which instructors build the in-class experience. Try adapting the following WarmUp example (below) to your instructional sessions to promote a more active and interactive class experience.
Example of a WarmUp for library instruction:
Warm Up 1: LIB 004 – Evaluating Information
QUESTION 1: What is the difference between popular and scholarly sources/articles? You may want to look these terms up before answering. Be as specific as you can, and give an example of each.
QUESTION 2: What characteristic determines whether an article is scholarly or popular?
QUESTION 3: Evaluate the following article (provide a sample article)
More information on JiTT can be found on the following site: http://jittdl.physics.iupui.edu/jitt/
For other Teaching Tips and more Teaching Resources see:
The Library Instruction Committee