Would anonymity increase student participation?
Reported by Inside Higher Ed, when a professor asks the class if anyone has any questions, no volunteers doesn’t always mean no questions. That’s why Perry Samson from the University of Michigan designed an anonymous backchannel where students could submit questions for a teaching assistant to answer. The total number of questions asked went from 50 for the semester to more than 300. So, are students concerned with looking bad in front of the professor? Not in this case, where the student knew the teaching assistant would be able to see their submission.
The takeaway? The concern of looking foolish in front of one’s peer is a legitimate learning issue. How can we leverage similar anonymity tools or otherwise help make our classrooms a safe place to not know yet?
May you continue to fight the good enrollment growth fight at your institution today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.
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