Disengaging the Glaze: Waking Students Up and Getting Them Actively Engaged

Some enthusiatic, well-rested students can manage to stay focused during even the driest lectures, however, even great lecturers have seen times when their students are mindlessly taking notes or are otherwise mentally disengaged from the lecture. Is it because it's obvious to the students are you're going too slow? Is it because students are lost and not understanding?

This is an example of a great time for a small whiteboard question. Ask students to write the next step in the derivation. Or ask students to write down an example of what you've just described. Or ask students to write down an alternate representation. Or ask students a simple example that has them apply what they just learned. Or ask students to write down asomething important that they learned in the last 20 minutes. Any of these could be spontaneous whiteboard questions that will help students engage.

In addition to these types of spontaneous uses, when an instructor becomes aware that students are not fully engaged, whiteboard questions can be planned into classes to preemptively avoid the glaze. Examples of numerous types of whiteboard questions are available by type at examples

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