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Table 4 Instructional system code categories and examples of corresponding beliefs from biology and engineering instructors

From: The role of pedagogical tools in active learning: a case for sense-making

Code Biology instructor Engineering instructor
Instructional scaffolding “…with my students is that I have to give them structure [with GIW activities]. If I don’t give them structure to follow, they don’t know what to do.” (g-pre) “... trying to have a cohesive, kind of weekly routine of content delivery: reinforced conceptual understanding in recitation [with ARS questions], scaffolded application in studio [with GIW questions]. So kind of the idea those two lectures, the recitation, and the studio as being like a learning unit...and then the homework follows that…” (g-post)
Social interactions “I expect that they talk to one another and I expect that they synthesize information from whatever we’ve talked about earlier that morning with what we’ve done before.” (g-pre)
“So every day they’re expected to interact, not just with the content but with each other and to make meaning of the content.” (g-post)
“I’ll just have [GIW] worksheets where it’s just things like sketch what you think this, you know, the relationship between these two variables is, know, just doing stuff where they’re talking with their group and grappling with the material as opposed to me.”(g-post)
Formative assessment “But I’m curious what they do know, then based on that data I will choose to, when we start the next day, amend the plan. If it means that we have to have a clicker question the next time to probe this more thoroughly or if maybe I just got to throw it out there and see what they’re thinking and where the misconception might be or why they’re answering it the way they’re answering it.” (g-post) “You get real feedback [from the ARS tool], so do they understand it? 70% of them do or got the right answer, and 30% don’t, and so you know you have your finger on the pulse of the class. You know, you’re assessing them closer to when you’ve cover the material, and you’re giving them an opportunity to assess their own learning, and so that, and you’re giving them an opportunity to communicate what they’ve learned to their peers.” (g-pre).
Summative assessment “When I entered into graduate school, I began teaching anatomy and physiology, which I think traditionally can be looked at as a very memorization-based discipline for anatomy, but for physiology it’s process. And then I started crafting exams and assessments that were, you know, more about how could students predict, could students look at a set of data and then make inferences from it, and I came to realize that they couldn’t really do that.” (g-pre) “I think it was an exam question, and you know, some students complaining about it being unfair, you know, we haven’t covered this in class or whatever, and then just going through what my rationale was. Like if you understood this, the concept from this application know, I was looking to see if you could transfer it and use it over here.” (g-pre)
Sense-making processes “We need to not just be looking at content when we do that. We need to be thinking about what does it mean to think like a biologist? You know, what pieces are being gathered or created here, and how are we gonna further them with this course. Content builds, for sure. But what about the thinking like a biologist?” (g-pre)
“When I throw my clicker questions out there I say to them, okay, I’m going to need you to defend your choices after these questions come up, I want to hear from you, so I’m prompting them to be reflective about their learning,” (g-post)
“and [answering ARS questions] they develop, I think, confidence and a sense responsibility that, you know, I’m not just going to be told the answer here; I have to I have to figure out what the answer is and I think by instilling that in them through this class and the classes that follow they develop skills that they wouldn’t develop if you were in a straight lecture classroom.” (g-pre)
“And it’s kind of engineering problem solving is also, a big part of [CBEE] 211 is just being able to take a lot of information, break it up into the parts and map it to, again, those concepts that are kind of fundamental, and then use that information to come to a solution. I think those are the big things I hope they take away from it.” (g-post).