Activities Communication and Engagement Content Delivery Stories

Jenn McArthur

Jenn McArthur

Associate Professor, Department of Architectural Science

Course: ASC 522 – Project Economics

Strategy: Interspersing content delivery with “brain reset questions”

There’s only so much our brains can take in before we need a break or change in focus. In Jenn McArthur’s classes, she uses “brain reset questions” to stimulate discussion and break up content delivery. These brain resets allow students to reflect on ethical questions related to the course content.

When adapting her classes to remote delivery, the brain resets became even more valuable. Lecture content and review quizzes were available asynchronously, and the brain resets were discussed in breakout rooms as part of the live sessions.

Students were split into six groups for the live sessions with Jenn leading two groups, and her two GAs leading the remaining four groups. Sessions ran for an hour and a half each over the three-hour scheduled lecture time. With this adaptation from the usual large lecture model, it meant the GAs and Jenn could hear from more students in each session.

The brain resets also provided an opportunity for students to prepare for the final exam which included an ethical essay-style question.