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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Using Bridge Questions to Teach Technical Content Online | Online Education - Faculty Focus

Stefan A. Perun, assistant professor in the Department of Public Administration at Villanova University and Edward A. Liva, director of the Graduate Tax Program and a professor of practice at Villanova University School of Law reports, Courses with a great deal of technical content for application in practice such as law, business, or STEM courses are oftentimes designed in what amounts to an information delivery method. 

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The professor provides the necessary information for students to memorize and repeat back in the course assessments.
Indeed, the online environment makes disseminating recorded lectures and written material fast and convenient, and students readily expect to be tested on the materials provided. Even in course designs with synchronous components, professors may lecture or answer questions, yet seldom observe how students are synthesizing or interacting with the course material. Moreover, delivering large amounts of content and assessing students’ recall of that content misses a central piece of a student-centered pedagogy, namely ensuring that students achieve a deep understanding of the content through opportunities to apply the technical information to practical problems.

One way to augment online course designs that would help students practice applying technical knowledge is using bridge questions. Bridge questions require students to solve a practical problem or case by applying the content of the course to a real-world problem...

A final note on using bridge questions; the students’ independent and collaborative work on them should be graded, otherwise they may wait until others (especially the professor) solve the problems for them. In courses with synchronous components, this can be accomplished as a participation grade. In asynchronous designs, graded participation should be clearly defined activities that hold students accountable for engaging the bridge questions in meaningful ways. In any case, using bridge questions is a simple way to transform any online course from a content-focused passive learning experience to an engaging, students-centered one.

Source: Faculty Focus