Strategies for Grouping Students

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Monday, October 6, 2014 - 2:10pm

Dear Colleagues, Friends, & Supporters,

This semester we decided to video tape our calculus classes (1 and 3). We noticed that many of our inquiry-based approaches apply to other undergraduate courses as well, modified for the particular audience of course. And we often hear questions about how to make IBL work in a calculus class. So from now on you will find references, images and videos for calculus as well as math for liberal arts courses in our blogs.

Please let us know if you have a topic you would like us to write about for our next blogs, we are always open to ideas! Also consider visiting us in Westfield, MA during the semester to observe our classes and discuss the nuts and bolts of teaching IBL in an MLA class (and other classes like calculus) with us. We love to collaborate.


Julian Fleron, Phil Hotchkiss, Volker Ecke, & Christine von Renesse.

Using name tags to group students

In the first class I ask students to write their name on a notecard and to place it in front of them. At the end of class I collect the name tags and in the beginning of the next class, I will set them up again, likely in different places. I call this strategy one of the “control knobs” of an IBL instructor, because where and with whom the students work has a big influence on the effectiveness of their learning.