Reflections on using student-authored questions to encourage learning in physics

A. R. Merchant, K.W. McGregor


In our previous work (Merchant and McGregor 2005) we outlined preliminary studies into the effectiveness of a teaching method designed to encourage students to pose their own questions as an assignment task. While the questions posed by students provide considerable feedback on their progress, several questions about the technique need to be answered: was the dialogue between students on a level where they were discussing true and accurate science? Apart from the first attempt, was the technique practical to implement for large classes? And finally, can this technique be useful in all years of a program? In this paper we provide a further analysis of the student discussions and how they relate to the questions posed, moreover how they relate to the objectives of the course. We will discuss modifications to the assessment task aimed both to reduce the administrative load in implementing the task and to encourage validation of the student discussions through self-moderation. Finally we propose a model for implementing the technique of student-authored questions at different year levels.

Full Text: