« AnteriorContinuar »
I was a student thirty years ago I took lectures and all my energy was spent getting down the notes, and then all my attention was devoted to the mechanical work of transcribing the notes. And when I looked at the lecture, weeks afterward, it was entirely new to me. I would have to read it over again to pass examination. That is the reason I have been strongly set against that kind of lectures. But I am in favor of the lecture for instructing on some matter of practice, which is the same as a lecture for a popular audience, and of which no notes are taken. But that does not qualify an engineer. It is a good thing to add to the course, but it is not the course. It is the problem that a man works out himself that is the real work. That brings results.
PROFESSOR MABERY: I have been interested in the general discussion, especially what relates to the individual method of instruction as compared with class instruction. I have often thought that the element of time in education as a feature of mental expansion is of considerable consequence. Nature moves slowly and steadily whether in the development of physical or mental force. It would seem that a broader grasp of a subject may be gained by devoting to it say three hours a week for six months or a year than can be accomplished by completing it in one-third or onequarter of this time in daily exercises. I believe this to be the fundamental value of college and university training. A student occupied twelve hours a week has leisure to assimilate much that is not in the books. It is much the same in scientific training. A subject carried through the year in regular periods imparts better training than the cram incident to condensing the subject into three or six months.
The student who gives all his attention to one subject becomes a grind. A change from one subject to another is restful. It is better to carry along several subjects together. As has been suggested the student gains much in the general intercourse of classroom work, just as in such meetings as this, ideas are brought out by discussion and criticism.
With a class of 150 or more students there is no other method of presenting satisfactorily elementary chemistry than by lectures. A student can learn chemistry only in the laboratory with a sufficient number of teachers for individual instruction.
I believe in this combination of the lecture method and the individual method; presentation of the subject by lectures, individual teaching in the laboratory, and class revision by recitation and tests.
RELATIVE EFFICIENCY OF INSTRUCTION IN
BY JAMES M. WHITE,
This paper presents the results of an attempt to reduce the work of instruction in widely different subjects to a common basis for the purpose of comparing the economic efficiency of instruction in the several departments of the College of Engineering of the University of Illinois.
In recitation subjects, the number of hours spent in the class room is the criterion of the work of an instructor, but the same number of hours spent in the drawing room or shop would not represent as much work because there are not so many problems and quizzes to correct outside of class hours; neither does summing the measures of the amount of work required of the students in the courses taught by an instructor give a fair comparison of the teaching work involved, because in laboratory and shop courses, for example, the instructor must be present all the time, which corresponds to both the recitation and the study period in other subjects.
The size of section and the method of instruction must also be considered, because with proper system an instructor can teach twice as many students as efficiently in some subjects as in others.
As à measure of student work the semester-hour is used here and means the number of one-hour class exercises per week, each requiring two hours' preparation, or the number of three-hour periods in subjects not requiring outside work.
The values in the first two columns of the table given below are the consensus of opinion of forty members of our Engineering College Faculty, and I believe they are consistent with our methods of instruction. The first column is the number of students who can be taught as efficiently in the several different classes of work as twenty-five can be in a recitation exercise. The second column gives the number of semester-hours of teaching in each of the several subjects which will require the same amount of the instructor's time as would be required for fifteen recitations.
For the purpose of this investigation it does not make much difference whether or not fifteen sections of twenty-five students should be considered fair work for an instructor, but it is essential that the other values represent relatively the same efficiency of instruction and the same amount of the teacher's time.
Column three is the product of one and two and column four is the ratio of all the other values to the first one. In the last column the equalizing factors are given in round numbers. The values for lectures have been divided by two because the values in the first two columns are based on experimental lectures which would require the services of an assistant.
The factors are used as follows: The number of students in each course multiplied by the number
of semester-hours of the course and by the corresponding factor gives the amount of instruction involved, reduced to the basis of recitation work.
The total equivalent work of all departments can be computed in this way. These values divided by the number of instructors should give approximately equal values if the teaching staff is properly balanced, provided there are enough students in all cases to make economical sections.
An interesting comparison may be made by dividing the salary list of each department by the total equivalent work of the department to obtain the comparative cost of instruction in each.
The factors may also be used to determine the number of instructors that should be provided to teach a subject to a given number of students a certain number of times per week.
PROFESSOR Wood: Do the times given include the time for necessary preparation of the machines and apparatus for testing?
DEAN WHITE: Not in any way. I believe the students should do the bulk of the work of setting up the apparatus, but we have a mechanic in each labo.