Engaging Students in Inquiry Learning: April 2-20, 2012

Questions related to Vignette 3

Questions related to Vignette 3

by Judy Southwell -
Number of replies: 0

Regrettably I won't be able to participate in today's session. I noticed in a September 2009 Mick Healey and Alan Jenkins paper that they used the quote:

"For the students who are the professionals of the future, developing the ability to investigate problems, make judgments on the basis of sound evidence, take decisions on a rational basis, and understand what they are doing and why is vital. Research and inquiry is not just for those who choose to pursue an academic career. It is central to professional life in the twenty-first century." (Brew, 2007, 7).

This quote was interesting for me as it seemed that Dana was using aspects of this in her case study method. Also interesting for me is that the quote mentions research and inquiry is not just for those in academic careers. From time to time I have instructed in Applied Business Technology Programs. I believe this content, at times, lends itself to case based learning. The students are required to learn how to use technology to produce documentation, as well as learn about the documentation and technology/software to develop/present it.

At times, learning the software can overshadow learning how to apply documentation components and the situations in which these particular documents would best be used-particularly when the learner struggles with technology (they seem to get stuck there). Another aspect of the students learning is that they can have a different chapter each week and each chapter is on a different type of documentation production. I struggled at times with having sufficient time for students to learn the software, learn about the documentation formats, and engage in discussion about why they would use particular documentation/components and software elements. I recently introduced some inquiry based learning, but found myself running out of time and resorted to lecture-based/demonstration instruction.

I would be interested to hear if you have some suggestions on using inquiry based learning methods and assessments (formative and summative) in classes for budding administrative assistants who need to learn-the software, the documentation elements, and why they would use a particular software component/documentation type-in an environment where lecture-based instruction/demos/interactive discussion and then assigned exercises from the book or through the publishers internet site have been used.

Another interest for me is applying inquiry based learning in international settings (Western Africa) where the classes can be up to 400 students. Dana mentioned that small group work in sizes as large as 8 would not work as well. In the situations I saw/have heard about the learners have no books, no to limited technology, and large class sizes. Do you have any suggestions around inquiry based learning for large classes, and also for those in international settings? I love the comments international students made in the vignette on Dana's class.