How to Teach a Undergraduate Course

It was always challenging for me to find an appropriate method to teach some courses for undergraduate level. I saw several methods of teaching during my bachelor because I passed several courses with different instructors those had their own method of teaching. Some instructors used the blackboard or whiteboard and they preferred to ask the students to write the notes during their lecture. I remember 10 years ago when I entered to the university, most of the instructors have used blackboard and whiteboard but they wanted to change their mind to use video projector for presenting their lecture by PowerPoints. So, I experienced both sides of teaching methods (using blackboard and PowerPoints). However I believe that we may need to recruit another method to optimize our time.

I personally tried to implement different method of teaching when I had the opportunity to teach some undergraduate and graduate courses in the past years. For example, I was a co-instructor for Bio-instrumentation course. I utilized several learning assessment tools. I asked the students to form their groups, then design and perform an applied project regarding biomedical engineering. They needed to collect the data from the patients in the hospitals and clinics. I taught them some topics related to instrumentation and asked them to apply this knowledge during their data collection.  In the end, they submitted their results as conference papers. I wanted to get feedback from other experts practically, therefore I encouraged them to submit and present their projects in an International Biomedical Engineering conference. The reviewers rated the papers and the average score was about 4.2 out of 5. This grade meant that the papers were between very good and excellent domain. Two papers got the best paper awards from that conference.

I also asked the students to fill out the evaluation form beyond official one from the university. They stated that this way could improve their understanding regarding Bio-instrumentation because they used the knowledge practically.

Subsequently, using the novel method for teaching related to the course’s topics may has an effect on the consequences of teaching significantly. I do not claim that my method may work for any courses but I concluded that if the instructors try to utilize innovative ways for teaching, the students will appreciate it and learn the topics more effective. What do you think? Did you have any specific experience regrading new methods of teaching?

This entry was posted in Contemporary Pedagogy – Spring 2016. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to How to Teach a Undergraduate Course

  1. Looks like you implemented what is referred to as a Project Based Learning environment. I have experimented with something similar in the past, but have found varied success with it. There are several advantages to this approach – it engages the students and allows the teacher to be a facilitator, which is great. What I find hard to tackle is engaging students in the teams/groups that are disinterested or not pulling their weight on the project. Dealing with team dynamics has been particularly hard, since each individual on the group expects different outcomes from the course. What has been your strategy in dealing with team conflict?

    • mokhles says:

      Thanks for your comment,
      I asked them to form their group and then ask them to rate their performance.
      Then I evaluate it.

  2. I like what you did with asking them to apply what they learned with the data collection and requiring them to submit their results to a conference. I took a course last semester that required a paper as apart of the course requirement. I think this is great (specially for graduate students) since considering that the course which you are taking applies to your research, you can get the chance to present it to the instructor of the course, and get some expert feedback (which in my case was very beneficial) and also have the motivation to write this paper since it is part of the course requirement and also applies to your research.

    However, I think that this is more beneficial for a graduate level course and at a undergraduate level students might have a hard time putting a paper together and this might work better in the context of a report.

  3. Cortney Steele says:

    I like how you integrated such a practical/applied project to your bio-instrumentation class. Also, I think that it was a great idea to submit those results as conference papers. Far too often, I feel like students think what they do for a lecture is insignificant outside of that particular classroom. This could also encourage the students to design future projects and submit papers to conferences on their own. I feel like some classes are easier to incorporate the ideas presented in the readings. Developing outside the box projects and discussion that involve the students more I think is really important! For classes such as research methods allow so much room for creativity and application. However, I feel like the challenge is when you have a high content class that leaves little time for projects and discussion days.

  4. Milad says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. I also like methods that encourage students to apply theoretical methods to solve a real world problem. I also have passed some courses that instructors asked us to solve a real problem and present the case study at the class and conferences. I never forget my case studies! Therefore, I think it is a great way to teach.

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