In March, Chad Boeninger stood in front of a class of more than 100 business students. He had prepared for the lesson, of course, but he also knew the length of the lecture and the time of day would cause some students to get distracted or zone out.
“In a class where there are 130 people like that, no matter how engaging or exciting you are, you’re going to have students in a traditional environment who are going to doze off, who are going to be checking their phones and their laptops…” he said.
Boeninger, head of user services at Alden Library, knew he should have prepared his lesson using Tophat, a software program that creates an interactive learning atmosphere. He had used the program often with other large business classes he taught and had mastered how to tailor it to large classes. He believed it led to better focus and participation with the students.
On March 27, from 12:05 to 1 p.m., in room 319 in Alden Library, Boeninger plans to teach a session, titled “Wake Up and Get to Work: How to Engage Large Classes with Active Learning Experiences and Tophat,” on the basics of the classroom technology.
The session, the second of a three-part Impact Through Action series sponsored by Alden Library, is geared toward OHIO instructors and graduate teaching assistants, he said.
Although Boeninger has mostly used Tophat with business cluster classes, he said instructors in other areas of study could easily tailor the program to their needs. He acknowledged that initially creating classes and questions in Tophat could be time consuming, but the ability to easily make changes to material saves instructors time later, Boeninger said.
“Part of what I will have to convey during my workshop is that trying to do something differently in a classroom takes a significant amount of time,” he said. “[But] one of the benefits of the technology is tweaking it, without having to put hours into another class.”
Boeninger said he will spend the session as a mini tutorial, showing the attendees how to create questions in the program and giving a mock lesson of sorts.
“I am hoping to give them a sampling of how I conduct a class and then show them how it is set up,” he said. “That’s my goal.”
“What can Libraries Learn from Disney’s Customer Service,” the third part of the Impact Through Action series, will take place in room 319 on April 11.