Active Learning Strategies: One Minute Paper

This is highly effective technique for checking student progress, both in understanding the material and in reacting in course material. Ask students to take out a blank sheet of paper, pose a question (specific or open ended), and give students one (no more than two) minutes to respond.

You could ask questions like "What was the main point of today's class material?" This enables you to determine if the students are viewing the material in the way you envisioned.

Muddiest (or Clearest) Point is a variation on the one-minute paper; you may want to give students a slightly longer time to answer the question. At the end of the class (or at a natural break in the presentation) ask, "What was the muddiest point in today's lecture?"

Mosteller (1989) outlined the three step sequence in using this feedback technique.

Step A. In the final few (two to four) minutes of each lecture ask the students to write brief responses to three questions: 1) What was the most important point in the lecture? 2) What was the muddiest point? 3) What would you like to hear more about?

Step B. Collect the responses on paper provided by the students (some signed, some not). For the next class meeting, prepare a handout that gives a frequency distribution of the answers to the questions and that cleared up some inquiries or requests.

Step C. Try to respond to as many of the requests aspossible, some in later lectures as would occurr naturally, some with extra handouts especially prepared, some with oral remarks in class, in addition to the remarks on the response lists.


Active Learning Strategies
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