The Levels of IBL

Stan Yoshinobu wrote about the five levels of an IBL class. I am pleased to say that I have been teaching at Level 4 for the past four semesters.

The only way that I know how to accomplish this in courses with a lot of content crammed into them (like calculus) is to use a flipped classroom/Peer Instruction format for much of the class.

On second thought, perhaps I should rethink what Stan means when he says: “All teaching is done via student-centered activities.” In terms of in-class teaching, I think that I meet this criteria. But with a flipped classroom, the students are reading the textbook outside of class. If this counts as “teaching,” then I would not fit Stan’s definition. I will have to ask him.

Does anyone else have ideas on how to do this in classes that have a lot of content requirements?

4 Responses to “The Levels of IBL”

  1. Joss Ives Says:

    I would say I usually live around level 3.5 because I’m still don’t do a great job of facilitating the large class discussions so that the major points come out that way. I usually solicit some student responses and then impose my own explanations on them. I really want to improve on this.

    To address your student reading as not student-centered issue, I had a really positive experience with the socratic electronics curriculum ( this past term. The idea is that you assign a handful of worksheet questions for them to complete before class, in a way that is very similar to many flipped strategies. However, the worksheets already have the answers and the worksheet questions are formulated such that the students have to consult outside resources (textbook, electronic component data sheets, wikipedia, etc) and do some self-teaching. The questions are structured such that the self-teaching is well scaffolded (providing the answers helps as well) and they show up in class ready to tackle some very challenging questions. Making them be very active in the pre-class part of the knowledge building instead of just reading a text or watching a screencast makes these activities, to my mind, a lot more student-centered.

    • bretbenesh Says:

      Hi Joss!

      Facilitating large class discussions is really tough. The way I get around that is teaching at a school with class sizes that are capped at 28. It helps a lot.

      The Socratic electronics curriculum looks really interesting! Do you know of a link to worksheets for mathematics, or do I have to create them myself? Bret

      • Joss Ives Says:

        My larger class sizes are typically only 36, but I still am terrible at facilitating discussions. It’s mostly about trying to figure out how to give them more control over the discussions while still making sure that we touch on all the main points.

        Those worksheets are unique to Socratic electronics, but I really like them as a model for flipping a class. Giving them the answers along with the pre-class questions feels like a really good way to communicate to them that it is their method of arriving at the answer that is most important.

        If you’re interested in making your own worksheets, he has the source files posted for his system of putting the worksheets together from a bunch of individual question files.

      • bretbenesh Says:

        I might think about this for next semester. Thanks for the tip! Bret

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