Design Patterns for CS Education/Design Patterns/Broadening from Small to large group discussions

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Broadening from Small to large group discussions

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Pattern Name

Broadening from Small to Large Group Discussions

Problem: Student’s discussions and collaborative learning is limited to their own group at the same table.

Level (any)

Semester (any)

Activity type (any)

Solution: Students are assigned reading and/or watch a video before class. Create a handout with additional info about that topic and 3-4 questions that lead students to think critically about that topic. In class ask small groups of students to discuss responses to questions during class.Engage all the students in class-wide discussions about their answers to the questions.

Formation (random)

Size (pairs, small)

Composition (any)

Duration (single class, topic based)

Contribution to grade (small)

Activity progression (individual to group, group to class )

Roles (equal responsibility)

Rationale: The students can benefit from other group’s idea and learn about broader perspectives and communicate with all the students of the class.

A sense of collaborative competition will encourage them to think more critically and in depth about the topics.

Potential Pitfalls: Keeping track of class discussion into the right direction and leading the discussions to conclude efficient results might be a challenge for the instructor.

Designing useful and relevant topics for discussion which has learning outcomes and also preparing those few questions before class, requires time and effort.