Education

Debunking an active-learning myth

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Science  25 Jan 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6425, pp. 361-362
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6425.361-e

Is there any truth to the notion that college instructors who implement active learning receive lower teaching evaluations? Henderson et al. present data from college physics instructors who attended a new-faculty workshop and attempted to incorporate active learning into their introductory course. Contrary to common belief, 48% of these instructors reported an increase in student evaluations, 32% reported no change, and only 20% reported a decrease in their evaluations. The authors acknowledge the limitations of the study, including the nature of self-reported data as well as changes in student evaluations over time, yet provide the overall recommendation that instructors (and institutions) should not let perceived anxiety over negative student evaluations be a reason to avoid implementing evidence-based teaching practices.

Am. J. Phys. 86, 934 (2018).

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