|Team Based Learning: An Opportunity for Engaging Students in Large Class Settings
The objective of this initiative is to improve and expand our early efforts in the use of Team Based Learning in large class settings at the Faculty of Applied Science. Our goal is to create the tools and resources, the faculty and staff expertise, and the sustainable support structures that will allow faculty to more easily consider, design and implement Team Based Learning in their courses. This initiative will benefit both instructors and students and will tackle one of the most difficult teaching and learning issues we face, that is, how to bring to large classes the application and analysis of course concepts, higher level learning cognitive activities, and effective team work.
The Team Based Learning methodology (TBL) has proven to be a powerful tool that can be applied to a variety of disciplines and class sizes. Michealsen (2002) has shown that large classes are viewed as an asset by student when TBL is used in these settings. More information on this approach can be found in the excellent book by Larry Michaelsen et al, 2002, "Team Based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching".
Early efforts with TBL in CIVL 332 have given very positive feedback on the effectiveness of the individual and team readiness assessment process, and MECH 410/550 has had excellent success with in-class application-based team assignments. The use of this type of in-class application exercises transforms the classroom from an instructor focused environment to strongly learner-centred one. A pilot project slated for January 2005 in MECH 223 will more fully implement TBL in a class of128 students in a fixed-seat tiered lecture theatre environment. The TBL method will include pre-readings, in-class individual tests and team readiness assurance process/testing, individual out-of-class application assignments and in-class application and analysis team assignments and discussions. This pilot will provide a valuable opportunity to gather information and establish strong direction for this initiative.
With the materials and expertise created during this project, we plan to expand and support the use of the TBL instructional strategy at Applied Science. The Centre for Instructional Support (CIS) will become the central faculty hub for the support of Team Based Learning. This initiative has the potential to benefit a large number of courses, and students in Applied Science, at UBC and beyond.
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Jim Sibley, Centre for Instructional Support, Faculty of Applied Science