Panelist: Karolyn Mace Andrews


Adjunct Instructor & Director

Psychology & Education Abroad

Research Area (or Specialization):

Psychology (Behavioral Neuroscience) and International Education

Relevant course(s) name/number, approx. number of students, and short description

Psychology 049 – Topics in Psychology:  Cyberpsychology (the interplay between technology & behavior); general education course offered in winter 2018 to 300 students

Teaching or learning problem/challenge that made you rethink your learning model or approach or try something new

My previous teaching experience involved small class sizes of 25 students or less, and I relied heavily upon the Socratic method during lectures and through assessments.  Shifting from 25 to 300 students challenged me to find ways to engage the students outside the classroom, but also within it; although I met twice per week in person for 90 minutes, I interacted directly with only a handful of students. In hopes of bridging this gap between 300 students and 1 teacher, I incorporated various tech tools.

How you addressed that challenge (if applicable, what technology, learning strategy, etc. you integrated to do so)

We used these tech tools:  Poll Everywhere, Packback, iLearn, Zoom, and an audio-enabled screen capture tool (i.e., SNIP).  I also used peer instruction during the lectures, and eventually adopted videos as well to increase engagement.

How students responded, any challenges, and lessons learned


Packback worked quite well – it’s an AI mediated discussion tool, in which students are randomly assigned to groups of 50 (unbeknownst to them) to learn to ask better questions.  This proved the most popular tool.

Poll Everywhere

Adopted to engage the students, and to assess attendance, it became clear after I used Poll Everywhere questions in quick sequence that not all students’ responses were registered.  I subsequently adjusted by allowing more time to answer the questions, as well as allowing more time in between questions.  Afterwards, I was advised to use the clickers because ‘most students have one already’ yet I chose Poll Everywhere because of the aesthetics, and because the price was approximately 1/3rd that of the clickers.  This tool has been subsequently adopted university-wide.

Screen capture/audio recorder tool

Used for homework, in which students chose an article on that week’s topic, captured key text, and responded for 2-3 minutes.  It took students some time to locate a platform-appropriate tool, and occasionally those tools failed the student. I learned that I need to balance learning/problem-solving on their own with the impact when things go wrong through no fault of their own (e.g., allow for effort, if outcome isn’t achievable).

Peer instruction

Throughout the lecture, I would pose a question based on a video/lecture point, have students discuss amongst themselves, and then share with the wider class.  To keep them engaged, I had to walk the classroom, encourage students who weren’t participating, and the subsequent discussions lacked depth because only a few students would speak up.  Using microphones seemed to turn them off, so we dropped those.

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