Tag Archives: asking questions

Getting students to focus on questions, not the answers


On May 5, 2017, McGill’s Assessment and Feedback Group held an event entitled Getting students to focus on the questions, not the answers as part of its Brown Bag Series. To an audience of peers, two instructors described assignments they use in their courses that call upon students to create questions as a means for engaging them with course content and getting them to think about how they learn.

Below, Penelope Kostopoulos, a Faculty Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, describes her assignment. Carolyn Samuel, formerly a Senior Faculty Lecturer at the McGill Writing Centre, describes her assignment in a post called What’s the prof gonna ask? Continue reading Getting students to focus on questions, not the answers

What’s the prof gonna ask?


Every August, I teach a 3-credit course at McGill called Academic English Seminar, which is an academic skills course for incoming undergraduate students who speak English as a second or other language. The course runs 39 hours over 13 days. It’s intended to support students’ transition from high school or CEGEP learning to university learning. Every time I teach the course, I introduce at least one new topic or one new learning strategy. Last year, the new topic was the learning merits of taking handwritten notes versus laptop notes. This year, I introduced students to a study strategy to help them address a question students frequently pose when they’re studying together for a test: What’s the prof gonna ask? The strategy was the application of Bloom’s Taxonomy of levels of learning to the creation of questions as a means for anticipating what information professors might deem important in the readings they assign. I encouraged students to think: Why would the professor have assigned this reading? What are the salient points the professor wants me to draw from this reading? Continue reading What’s the prof gonna ask?

Twenty top tips for interpreting scientific claims from University of Cambridge


By Terry Hébert, Pharmacology & Therapeutics

We talk about giving students the tools to evaluate research in their disciplines critically. These tools can also be applied to their roles as citizens as well. We are sold a lot of things now- it is more important than ever to judge  the claims of our colleagues, our leaders and even ourselves honestly and critically. Here are some really good tips for developing that critical spirit from the University of Cambridge:

Aiming to improve policy-makers’ understanding of the imperfect nature of science, academics from the Universities of Cambridge and Melbourne have created a list of concepts that they believe should be part of the education of civil servants, politicians, policy advisers and journalists…

See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/twenty-top-tips-for-interpreting-scientific-claims

Looking for the right answer


By Laura Winer, Teaching and Learning Services

EDUCAUSE is an association with the mission of improving higher education through the use of information technology.  So it was a little surprising that the keynote speaker at EDUCAUSE 2013, Sir Ken Robinson, chose to show a short video featuring the work of third grade children. When there is a correct answer reports on an admittedly non-scientific study that nonetheless makes an important point: how you ask a question will influence the kind of answers you get. When students thought that there was a “right” way, the answers converged; when there wasn’t that expectation, the answers diverged.  As I think about questions as filling a dual role of assessment and stimulating thinking, the convergent/divergent continuum will be useful to help create alignment between instructional goals and assessment strategies.