As a Senior Lecturer of beginning and intermediate accounting courses, Ingrid Ulstad realizes that "accounting is a difficult topic, especially for non-majors." In light of the difficulties most students face in trying to comprehend the material, Ms. Ulstad encourages in-class participation and active problem solving.
When asked what challenges her most as an educator, she replied that "translating the material from the book into an understandable format that students can connect with" is a task that she encounters often.
Ms. Ulstad expressed that the wording from the text is very different from how people talk in their daily lives. "It's hard to understand the topic, especially if that's really not something that you have ever experienced."
To help her students understand the material, Ingrid uses a form of Just-in-Time Teaching. She is able to address the students' concerns immediately with the Just-in-Time Teaching method, ensuring that her students understand the material. Before class, students must answer questions on D2L about the reading assignments and class coverage. She checks these responses so she knows what they are having trouble with and often begins her class using the questions as the basis for lecture.
However, Ms. Ulstad is very adamant about not just lecturing. She likes to get her students engaged with the content and each other during class.
"I try to get the students to talk in the classroom, if not to me, then to each other. I really hate a quiet classroom. Even if they are just talking to each other, I think that's wonderful."
The Just-in-Time Teaching method breaks the material down so that it is easier for students to grasp. The students then participate in exercises designed so that they must find the solution by actively inputting their ideas and communicating their thought process.
Ingrid uses class time for the students to learn about the material and then assigns problems for the students to practice what was taught.
Ms. Ulstad realizes that every classroom learns differently, but she tries to instill in students the idea that learning the material well the first time will keep them from having to relearn it later on another exam or in another course.
She hopes her students say "that they didn't just go to class and do busy work." She wants her students to come away with the feeling that they actually learned something.
Ingrid hopes that her students walk away from her class with strong "problem solving abilities and the willingness to do a task over and over and over again until they really understand it."
"I really want them to learn actively, not passively."
For more information on Just-in-Time Teaching visit http://www.indiana.edu/~rcapub/v22n1/p08.html.