Introductory information for use in the Teaching Week 1 tutorial

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As part of the first tutorial, you may wish to use some introductory activities so students can get to know each other. This is important for helping students to form groups (for their group work assignments).

Introduction to course

  • Course introduction: Briefly introduce the course if necessary, but remember that I have instructed students to read the Course Outline and the Canvas information, and have emailed them lots of information too.

    • You may even like to open Canvas and show students where the Modules, Discussions, Check your Progress questions, etc. are located.
  • Approach: Most SCI110 students are in their first year at UniSC, and everything is new! Be gentle, caring, patient, helpful, personable.

  • Structure: Here is one way to structure this class (you don’t have to use (or like) it):

    • Explain why they are doing SCI110.
    • Group them according to where they live: north-ish, west-ish, etc. (may be helpful for finding near-by group members). Then let them chat for a few minutes.
    • Line up by the average number of hours of paid work they expect to do per week. Again, lhen let them chat for a few minutes. Remind them that UniSC courses are designed for \(8\)--\(10\) hours per week, including classes, every week; a lot of work is needed outside class times!
    • Ask them what they think the cost of SCI110 is (last I saw, $1 118 for domestic students; much higher for international (harder to pin down, but like $3 500). Remind them they don't have $1000 to waste, so take advantage of all that we offer.
    • Then discuss the pre-semester fun survey (see below).
    • Then do some content questions.

Fun survey

Before the start of the semester, students were sent a link to a short, mainly fun, online survey.

We can use it to open some discussions. Here’s an example, using the percentage of females/males:

  • Ask them to guess the percentage of males or females in SCI110 this semester.
    • Some will look at their class: is this a good guesstimate?
    • Why or why not?
  • Reveal that about \(65\)% of UniSC students are female.
    • Does this change their guess?
  • Then reveal the survey results for the last \(10\) years or so.
    • Have students comment on the closeness or otherwise of their guesses.
  • Then reveal the survey results for the current semester.
    • Have students comment on the closeness or otherwise of their guesses.
  • Point out that the survey results are not from everyone enrolled in SCI110 this semester.
    • How close do they think the survey percentages are to the true percentage?
    • Within \(1\)%? \(5\)% \(10\)% of the true value?
    • How many would we need in our sample to get a percentage to within \(1\)% of the true percentage?
    • What if (say) males were less likely to answer the survey than females?
    • Does the voluntary aspect cause you to doubt the accuracy and precision of the answers?
  • How could you ensure that the sample results were as close as possible to the true answers?

That covers a lot of good territory really...

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