Video Assignment: Active Learning

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Video title: Teaching and Learning Experiences in Active Learning Classrooms: Highlights

Topic(s): Active teaching, active learning, student engagement

Search terms: video mcgill teaching active learning

Time (of video): 5:51

Posted by: McGill University

Date posted: March 15, 2011


Video description: McGill University uses active learning and teaching in classrooms designed for collaboration. Watch highlights from several active learning classrooms.


Question/writing prompt to discuss: What advantages of an active learning classroom can you identify?  What are possible disadvantages?


In-class activities:


1. Creating an Active Learning Classroom Objective: Students experience how classroom arrangement can affect learning.

  1. If your room allows it, rearrange the desks before students arrive so there is no back of the room.
  2. Teach class.
  3. Have students write a reaction to the new seating arrangement. Ask for students to volunteer to read their reactions.
  4. Show the video from the beginning to 1:10.
  5. Ask students if any of the comments reflect their personal reactions.


2. Interaction in Active Learning Classrooms Objective: Students learn how active learning classrooms can affect interaction.

Show the video from 1:12 to 2:20.

    1. Have students describe the interaction they see in the active classroom.
    2. Based on the segment, ask students if they think all classrooms should be set up for active learning.
    3. Ask students what subjects they think are best suited for active learning classrooms.


3. Speak Up! Objective: Students understand why engaging in class encourages learning.

Show the video from 2:20 to 3:55.

    1. In a traditional classroom, many students will not answer questions for fear of being wrong, but in the video, the instructor comments that being wrong actually helps the class. Ask students why wrong answers are beneficial.
    2. After watching the clip, have students discuss the importance of speaking up in class.