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ERIC Number: EJ883113
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 13
ISSN: ISSN-1059-9053
Improving Student Discussions in Graduate and Undergraduate Courses: Transforming the Discussion Leader
Soranno, Patricia A.
Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, v39 p84-91 2010
Student discussions are a common teaching approach in graduate and advanced undergraduate courses because of their benefits to student learning, and to future professional development for natural resources professionals. However, traditional student-led discussions often are ineffective at meeting course and learning objectives and suffer from many common pitfalls, such as dominance by a few vocal students. I present the "student facilitator approach" to student-led discussions that changes the roles of all students in the discussion classroom, particularly the leader, and provides students clear guidelines about preparing for and participating in classroom discussions. A key feature of the approach is the replacement of the student discussion leader (who has control over both discussion content and process) with a student facilitator (who has control over only the discussion process). Using this approach, I found that students responded very positively, that it tended to encourage student participation, and that it created an environment where students took more ownership of the discussion. (Contains 2 tables.)
American Society of Agronomy. 677 South Segoe Road, Madison, WI 53711. Tel: 608-273-8080; Fax: 608-273-2021; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan