Dr. Bwalya Lungu

Dr. Bwalya Lungu

Winter 2020 AudioBlog Entry: Dr. Bwalya Lungu on Personal Response Systems to Engage Students in Large Classes

Dear Faculty Colleagues, 

Dr. Bwalya Lungu, Assistant Professor of Teaching for Food Science and Technology, shared her experience in our most recent AudioBlog entry about using technology to support student learning in her classes. Dr. Lungu teaches a variety of courses which range from small classes with fewer than 20 students to large classes with more than 500 students. Dr. Lungu strives to use technology to make even a class with 500 students feel small so students can participate without fear. 

Dr. Lungu uses a combination of technologies including Top Hat, a personal response system, and curated videos to engage students in learning. In addition to these technologies, she uses think-pair-share strategies to empower students and help them feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas in front of large classes. 

Drawing from her own experience, Dr. Lungu offered the following recommendations for faculty as they consider integrating technologies in their own courses: 
  1. Be sure to research the tool before you begin using it. Be prepared to explain to students why they are using it and how it will help support their learning. Also, in the research phase, be sure to consider the campus infrastructure (for example, to understand how many devices a classroom can support with available WiFi). 
  2. Before committing to a tool, try it out yourself. This can help you limit the possibility of user error in front of a large class. 
  3. Once you decide to use a tool, use it frequently. Students will need to see the tool being used consistently and frequently to become comfortable with the tool and to understand its importance to their learning goals. 
  4. Reflect on the use of the technology. A tool may not work quite right the first time it is used, but reflection can improve subsequent uses of the tool. 
  5. If you are using videos, make sure the videos are not too long. The value of shorter instructional videos is detailed in the Wheel post “The Value of Short Instructional Videos.” 
We invite you to check out the recording of this AudioBlog entry as Dr. Lungu offers practical insight into how to integrate personal response systems and curated video into a course to increase student engagement, participation, and learning even in large lectures. 

On a personal note, as I hope you will hear, I found Dr. Lungu to be an especially insightful thinker and speaker on managing and inspiring large classes. We thank her for participating as interviewee for the quarterly audio blog entry for The Wheel.

Best, Andy Jones

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