Effective Education at CU Boulder

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My name is Kate, I am an undergraduate student at CU Boulder in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

I have trouble finding classes that are both useful and interesting. There have been a few classes that incorporate research-based teaching materials which emphasize their usefulness beyond the campus of any University.

These classes utilize a new approach to teaching, one that suits me very well: active-learning. These create opportunities for effective group work and they value learning from peers. The benefits of cooperation are emphasized, where the cumulative knowledge carries the whole team further that any member could get on their own, and (my favorite!) whenever any of the members admitted a lack of understanding- they are not punished for ‘not knowing.’ Instead, the members who had a better grasp of the material get to explain, (and throughout the process gain a better understanding of the topic themselves while teaching other students).

I compare that to the model most classes follow: A presentation, where the professor talks at an ‘audience’ who is supposed to listen. Unfortunately, even when a topic is interesting, it is easy to get distracted if the whole process is not interactive. Yes, there are textbooks to help to catch up, however, I can learn better from instructors who are able to adapt and meet the students where we are at, instead of demanding from us to constantly catch up with the professor who dictates where our level of understanding the subject should be.

Please, support classes and instructors that use this method that is so clearly relevant and helpful to our future lives and careers. It is such a pleasure to be picking up useful skills in an engaging  atmosphere, as we interact with the material and our peers. I strongly believe that it is this way of educating that would turn this University into even better and more competitive place of acquiring knowledge, and, as a result, attract the best and most talented students who want to continue their education and become better citizens.

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