Active Learning and Just-In-Time teaching In a Material and Energy Balances Course


  • Matthew W. Liberatore


ctive learning, online homework, just-in-time teaching


The delivery of a material and energy balances course is enhanced through a series of in-class and out-of-class exercises. An active learning classroom is achieved, even at class sizes over 150 students, using multiple instructors in a single classroom, problem solving in teams, problems based on YouTube videos, and just-in-time teaching. To avoid rote copying of the solutions manual, a combination of homework types has proven successful. The implementation of Sapling Learning’s online homework has allowed self-directed and personalized problem solving. Traditional paper and pencil homework and multiple choice quizzes round out the weekly homework assignments. The quizzes and online homework allow for just-in-time feedback (i.e., classroom exercises that review concepts from homework completed just hours earlier). Course and exam grades as well as surveys assessed the changes to the course. Timing of the first of three exams is critical to provide a fair assessment and minimize the students withdrawing from the course and likely changing majors. Student surveys show a strong preference for multiple types of homework, especially online homework, to maximize students’ learning.