Giving Students an Opportunity to Customize Their Classes

This past week I tried an experiment of allowing students to customize a portion of a 2.5 hour class. Students were given an option to “open” one of four doors, and then I would lead the class discussion in a direction based on what door they voted to open:

  • Door 1: Experiential activity (P2P-related)
  • Door 2: Agile/Scrum crash course (team-related, something you will likely encounter in business)
  • Door 3: Chapter 1 & 2 quiz “show”
  • Door 4: Idea on prospecting for research host

As an example, for Door 3 students could put me in the hotspot by having me present a short piece of research and then quiz me based on concepts in Chapters 1 and 2 of the course book.

The voting didn’t quite go as I expected it would. Students chose Door 1 over Door 3. Perhaps list item primacy effects? Perhaps they were caught off guard by being given this choice in the first place?

You might be thinking, “what was behind Door 1?” Well students got to role play that they were fishing together. They got to try different communication modes based on concepts from improv (e.g., “Yes, and”). The goal of the exercise was to help people develop better team communication styles as an early part of the process of forming project teams.

Regardless, in the end I think students had a good experience. Only time will tell I suppose.