Hello lecture hall, bye bye whiteboards?Posted: October 5, 2011
At my university, the University of the Fraser Valley, most of our classes have a maximum enrollment of 36. We teach our intro sections in a room with tables that seat 3 and I do a lot of whiteboarding activities. And once the students are used to using them I find that they also use them for discussing their answers during clicker questions. I never have “board meetings” meaning that I don’t ask groups to take the rest of the class through a solution that is on their whiteboards. I use the whiteboards more as a collaborative space.
Next fall I am tentatively scheduled to teach a slightly larger section (somewhere between 54 and 90 students) in our lecture hall. I don’t mind converting most of my whiteboarding activities to clicker questions since I have been recording their results and diagrams and such in previous sections. So I don’t “need” the whiteboards.
Lecture halls are less than ideal for facilitating collaborative group-work, but lots of people make it work and I am curious to try it out for myself. Clicker question discussion groups form all over the room and that part should be fine. What I am not looking forward to is the potential loss of whiteboards as a collaborative space for students when working on clicker or other questions. I suppose I could chop up some whiteboards to make ones that are an appropriate size to use on those tiny little arm-rest tables that are found with lecture hall seats. But I doubt that they would be able to be large enough to allow for a decent collaborative space.
Does anybody have experience trying to use whiteboards in a lecture hall environment? How did it go? How large were the boards? Any other suggestions other than to simply ditch the whiteboards for this forthcoming section?