Inspired by Eric Mazur (h/t Robert Talbert [Edit 2/15/2014: I also meant to credit Joss Ives, who intially planted this idea in my head a couple of years ago]), I decided to try team quizzes in my linear algebra class. Here is basically how it went:
The topic was “Subspaces.” I gave students 10 minutes to answer four multiple choice questions. Each of the four questions is about a subset of . The students need to answer questions about the following four subsets:
- is twice the sum of
For each subset, students had to pick the best answer from the following list:
- is a subspace.
- is not a subspace, and the only one of the three axioms that fails is “ contains the zero element.”
- is not a subspace, and the only one of the three axioms that fails is “ is closed under addition.”
- is not a subspace, and the only one of the three axioms that fails is “ is closed under scalar multiplication.”
- is not a subspace, and the only one of the three axioms that holds is “ contains the zero element.”
- is not a subspace, and the only one of the three axioms that holds is “ is closed under addition.”
- is not a subspace, and the only one of the three axioms that holds is “ is closed under scalar multiplication.”
- is not a subspace, and none of the three axioms holds.
The students wrote their answers (just their choice, not an explanation) on two copies of the quiz. After the 10 minutes of individual work, students handed one of the copies of their answers to me and got in teams of four. The four students then repeated the same quiz collaboratively. I did this by putting the quiz on Moodle. Teams could keep answering until they got the right answer, although there is a penalty for each incorrect attempt.
For this quiz, a student received SBG credit for one “Linear Spaces and Subspaces” question if the student answered only one question incorrectly total between the individual and the team quiz. So a student who did perfectly on the individual quiz could have their team answer one questions incorrectly, a student who missed exactly one question on the individual quiz had to have a perfect team quiz score, and a student who missed two questions on the individual quiz did not receive credit.
Aside from the fact that I did not give the students enough time (alternatively, I gave the students too many questions), student reviews ranged from “this was good” to “this is freakin’ awesome.” No student said they did not like, and about a quarter of the class seemed desperate for more team quizzes.
It was a tiny bit tricky setting this up on Moodle. I probably forgot some details, but here are some things that I needed to do to get it to work:
- Make a regular Moodle quiz. This means that I had to create four separate questions, and then put all four questions on the quiz.
- Change “How quiz behaves” to “Adaptive mode.” This allows students to attempt the same question multiple times.
- Uncheck the box “Right Answer” under “Review Options” so that students are not shown the correct answer after each attempt (the second attempt becomes really easy if you were just told the answer).
- In each question, I think that I had to assign a penalty (0.1 works fine) to let me know how many attempts each team took. I think that I also changed from the default so that the answers were not shuffled.
I am going to try this again, but not until I finish the course content at the end of March (I race through the content so that I can have 1.5 months of review and assessment). This would be great to do for the entire class period, but I do not see how I can make it work reasonably well in less than 45 minutes (cutting back on the number of questions decreases the confidence that I have that a student understands, and also does not allow for students who do well on the individual portion to have a cushion on the team portion).
But this worked really well, and I am looking forward to building it into my courses next year.