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Less Watching, More Doing: Hands-on Activities to Enhance Undergraduate Courses
Brantlee Spakes Richter: University of Florida
<div>Educational research has consistently reinforced the concept that we learn best by doing, rather than by watching, and results of a recent APS research survey indicate that employer satisfaction with BS-degreed employees is marred by frustration with deficiencies in hands-on skills. Yet the lecture format remains the most common mode for teaching. Lectures are efficient for delivering information to large groups, they are familiar and comfortable for both professors and students, and they require less preparation than most experiential learning modes. Classroom design and time periods often favor the lecture format, and many of us struggle to provide meaningful content interactions in short time frames, with no lab facilities, to students whose lectern-facing chairs are literally bolted to the floor. Yet, even in the most inconducive of settings, there are ways to incorporate hands-on activities. This presentation will share results of employer surveys, identifying particular skills that hiring managers and supervisors would like to see better developed among undergraduate students, and will explore ways to address these deficits and incorporate hands-on learning in non-laboratory classes.</div>

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