Lecture Tools

Lecture Tools is a newly licensed polling/Q&A/classroom interaction tool at Dartmouth. It enables student-content, student-student, and student-instructor interaction and feedback. Faculty can use it for prior to class activities, during class activities like polling, open-ended answer or Q&A, or after class follow-up feedback.  We classify this as a “bring your own device” tool where students will need a laptop, tablet, or iPad for optimal use or can have limited use through text messaging in answers.

Some of the features include:

  • multiple choice and multiple select polling
  • open ended answers to questions
  • image hot-spot questions
  • perpetual and anonymous (to classmates) “Ask a Question” feature at any point in the Lecture
  • flags for “I don’t get it” and “I’ve got it!”
  • multi-media embedding for audio and video (like YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)
  • learner analytics, grading, attendance

For ideas and resources on using polling tools in your class, please review this Research Guide: Tools for Engaging Students

If you are interested in a demo of Lecture Tools or want to use it in your course, please email Educational.Technologies@dartmouth.edu and we will set you up with our Dartmouth license which makes the tool free to you and your students.

Posted in Active Learning, Blog, Discussing, Giving Feedback, Polling

Reflection: Flipped Course Design 101 workshop

by Adrienne Gauthier with content provided by workshop participants

Last week we had a well attended and fully engaged workshop on flipped course design. Thank you to all the faculty and staff who attended and brainstormed challenges, opportunities, and sample activities in our small group discussions. Additional thanks to the June 2013 workshop participants! I’ve combined thoughts and ideas from both sessions below, as well as adding more “instructional designer” perspectives.

Workshop participants:  In the comments please answer, “What skills/attitudes does an instructor need in a student-centered classroom? What are some shifts in your own perspective that you might be going through as you think about flipping your class?”

What does “flipped course design” mean to you? What are your definitions and expectations?

  • —when students more engaged, they learn more — how to do this in my class?
  • best class I took as an undergrad was a flipped design, it was effective to practice the course concepts together in a group with the instructor there…I want to try this as a teacher
  • how to make discussion more fruitful in a high enrollment social science class
  • how to do it. (when asked what is wanted from this workshop)
  • what are the pitfalls?
  • present lecture materials ahead of class-time, shortens overall lecture time
  • during class students can ask questions or present issues
  • problem sets during class, reading/lecture before class
  • small video lectures with a quiz before class, during class working with case studies, problems, etc.

Flipped classrooms can take on many different flavors. Some instructors will “flip a week” during the term here and there or run the entire term in a flipped framework. “Flipping” is really about making the most of the face to face time you have with your students and the organized time students have with each other. Ideally that is time spent actively learning and thinking critically about the concepts. They can work through novel situations and authentic scenarios collaboratively while analyzing and applying the “base” concepts of the course, functioning at a higher level.

What are some benefits to a flipped course design?

  • gives students an opportunity to apply and practice course content
  • get quicker feedback from professor
  • students get confidence boosting by working with other students, sense of community
  • less lecture time saves the professor time
  • in-class students have more time to process the info
  • more engaging/interesting]
  • flipped classroom is more like the real world, analyze and apply authentic scenarios
  • gives a professor more of a chance to see where gaps are
  • students can go at their own pace with material
  • students can take ownership of learning, more responsible in active learning environments
    the number of exposures to content can be increased
  • opportunities to problem solve, critical thinking – in person with the instructor
  • raise the level of the class, raise expectations of student performance
  • just in time teaching, immediate feedback
  • social/collaborative/cooperative learning — learning from each other

What are some challenges you can foresee? Can you think of any solutions?

  • how difficult it is to evaluate all student responses/questions
    • —assign only a few students each time to submit questions/etc. and rotate through semester to get through all students
  • how to most effectively use time in class
    • this depends on your learning outcomes for the course and how you will assess your students
  • —how do you make sure students get out of the reading what you want them to (loss of control compared to lecture)
    • offer reading outlines
    • ask students to submit ‘salient points’ prior to class
    • low-stakes “readiness” quizzes
    • handout questions they have to answer/think about during the reading
  • —existing materials usually come from traditional lecture resources
    • frustrating, right? Instructional designers can help you use existing content and resources creatively!
  • —balance of lecture vs active time in class—
    • bring all of your “lectures” online and into shorter chunks (no more than 8m), deliver through Blackboard
    • use our Dartmouth supported Camtasia Relay to screencast/record audio
    • summarize at the beginning of class and maybe give a low-stakes quiz, then jump into your activities
  • dept facilitated syllabi and time limits, how to break out of the mold
  • students living up to their accountability, not being prepared
    • set expectations in your syllabus and on the first day of class
    • students may need guidance and mentoring to take full advantage of an active learning classroom, help to learn more and reflect on the way they are learning
  • —students might resist the ‘extra work’ (meaning, homework + “working” during classtime instead of being passive)
    • describe and discuss your high expectations of your students
    • ask students to articulate expectations for the course
  • large lectures and active learning in small groups is challenging to manage/facilitate
    • assign roles to groups, create a leader or facilitator role to keep groups on track
    • TAs and undergrad TAs are very useful in large lecture active classrooms


Pre-workshop reading:

Extra resources:

Posted in Active Learning, Blended Learning, Blog, Ed Tech, Instructional Strategies

Active Learning

Meyers and Jones (1993) wrote “Active learning involves providing opportunities for students to meaningfully talk and listen, write, read, and reflect on the content, ideas, issues, and concerns of an academic subject.” Faculty that use active learning strategies are shifting their classrooms and courses to be more student-centered, while they themselves shift more to a learning designer, facilitator, and mentor role. There is a multitude of online resources to help you get started with active learning strategies, whether for just one or two class periods to try it out or for a whole course design.

Read more ›

Posted in Active Learning

Blended Learning

The basic definition of “blended learning” or “hybrid” or “flipped” is to mean that students are getting first exposure to new content outside of class and during class they are being active learners, critical thinkers, and collaborative partners. First exposure to content might be reading, watching a video lecture or movie, or internet searches answering basic questions, etc. With hybrid learning professors will replace 50% or more of class meeting time with activities done outside of the class on students’ own time. In a traditional flipped course model, the class still meets during the scheduled times and most class sessions are using active learning strategies where students are using or analyzing knowledge gained prior to class. Read more ›

Posted in Blended Learning


A wiki allows a group of people to create content on a distinct topic. It is different from a blog, because there is no distinct author, and can be edited in real time by many collaborators. Faculty often assign wikis to groups of students to define, collect, or create information and materials, and share the results with the class.

Below are some helpful websites on wikis:

Tools for wikis:

Interested in using a wiki in your course? Please contact us to Schedule a Consult.

Posted in Wiki