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Palomar College Learning For Success

Kelly Falcone

Professor & Professional Development Coordinator

Category: OnCourse

In class chat room for Exam review

Yesterday in class I decided to use free online chat room for our exam review.

I broke the class up into groups of 5 people.  I had the groups discuss each of the 5 chapters that would be on the exam and come up with what they thought were the 3 most important topics/information from each chapter.  Then I brought up the chat room and we went chapter by chapter and each group posted their thoughts.  This gave us a good review of each chapter and also it showed me what they found most pertinent.

We then had each person in the group choose a chapter that they wanted to be the expert on.  The students then separated into large groups, one for each chapter.  In their large groups they were told to come up with 4 exam questions.  They were told that if the questions were good solid questions they would be used on the exam.  Again, the large chapter groups posted the questions they devised in the chat room.  This made for a 3 page document that summarized important information in each chapter and ended with possible exam questions.


I decided to try using the chat room as another way to get collaboration and interaction in the classroom.  This also allowed them to just discuss and not worry about writing everything down.  This is just another way to use cell phones in class and see answers to questions in writing on the classroom projection screen.


I have been trying many new strategies this semester to increase student participation, collaboration, and interaction.  And to also work on self-management, interdependence, and responsibility.  I wanted to give the students a chance to let me know what information they found most important.  By allowing them the opportunity to have a part in the evaluation I believe it gives them an opportunity to take part in their success.

I also wanted to start incorporating more diverse types of questions rather than just multiple choice in order to reach all types of learners in the classroom.  So they are told they can write any type of question: T/F, multiple choice, list, short answer, fill-in. etc.

I also find that by doing a group review and having the groups design the questions I am providing an additional learning environment.  As stated in teh abstract titled Pedagogical use of multiple choice tests –
Students create their own tests “Creating something often results in learning, and involves new cognitive processing of existing knowledge.”

The use of groups in this way follows the basic guide of the OnCourse Jisaw meeting structure.


Well, unfortunately it didn’t go as well as I had hoped.  In the future I need to put more strict guidelines on the chat room use.  I had students repeatedly changing their name to funny and sometimes inappropriate names just for fun.  I had students post comments I wish I could’ve deleted.  Overall, this class had more fun “playing” in the chat room.  However, it did still serve the purpose of developing a typed summary of the important points in the chapter and a list of possible questions.  It just took me extra time to edit the chat log and remove hte unnecessary text.


I will use this again, but I will ask them to join the room sequentially in order to know which group is in every location in the classroom.  I will not allow them to make-up their own group names, but rather leave it as the default “user 1”.  I will be more clear in my instructions of what I expect the posts to look like.   Unfortunately the issues I had were the same as when I used for open ended student responses to class questions.  I need to be very clear in my rules and expectations prior to use.

“I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand” ~Confuscius

“I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand” ~Confuscius

I have been repeating this quote over and over again this semester… What does this mean to me? What does this mean for my teaching? Do we truly learn better by actively participating and doing rather than just simply hearing and seeing? To me this is the difference between having a teacher-centered lecture based classroom and a learner-centered classroom with interaction, collaboration, participation, and active learning.

I have spent the past few months trying to create lessons in which I keep this quote in mind and create a classroom that is much more learner-centered. I attended a workshop that has been very beneficial in this adoption which is called OnCourse.

What are your thoughts about transitioning from a lecture based classroom to a more interactive learner-centered classroom?

Here is a link to what has been called a “flipped classroom” where two teachers decided we have it all backwards. The students should just sit back and listen to the lesson at home instead of the classroom and when in class they should do the questions and answers as traditional homework may have been. So in essence bringing the “doing” to the classroom and the hearing and seeing to the homework…. very interesting concept!!!!!

Silent Socrative Dialogue- A quiet way of communicating

Silent Socrative Dialogue is an OnCourse technique in which communication is done entirely through writing.  I chose to use this method in my Health class last week when they were supposed to be in their small groups deciding on a group project topic.  This is how I set it up:

  1. First I set-up a PowerPoint with timed slides so that there would be a chime at the end of each section of this dialogue
  2. I explained to the class how it would work:  there would be NO talking, you will look at the ppt screen whenever you hear the chime to signal what to do next, you will be conversing through writing, you will only be asking questions of others papers.
  3. The first question I had each person answer was:  take out a piece of paper and write down at least 2 topics you would like to use for the group research paper. 
  4. Then they heard a chime and the screen said “exchange your writing, read silently, respond with a thoughtful question”.
  5. The chime went off again and the screen said “exchange writing back, read the question asked, and write a thoughtful answer”.
  6. This went back and forth throughout the group and allowed each person to have input and ask questions.
  7. Once this was over they were allowed to discuss the topics and questions and decide on what topic they liked the most.

Pros:  Allows everyone to have a “say” and a “voice”.  I was able to show that this technique could be very valuable to them in many other situations especially during conflict, maybe with a parent.

Cons:  Unfortunately several students did not find this very worthy and made comments throughout, this made it difficult to take seriously. 

Overal experience:  I will definitely try this again, but I do need to explain it better and also give them more time.  I had the slides on :40 seconds thinking the responses would be short, but it definitely  wasn’t enough time.