Benefits for Instructors

Initial Publication Date: January 7, 2011
Read an interview with JiTT pioneer Gregor Novak on how JiTT provides instructors with valuable insights on student understanding of course concepts prior to class. Also, see Research on JiTT.
While JiTT provides a variety of benefits for students and their learning processes, it also benefits faculty members, improving both the practice and enjoyment of teaching. In particular,
  • JiTT provides a window into student learning processes- Student responses to JiTT exercises provide a never-ending stream of surprises about student thinking processes – that would otherwise remain hidden until an exam, quiz, or homework assignment. Making these learning processes visible allows us to develop in-class activities aimed at improving those skills.
  • JiTT is a flexible teaching technique- JiTT can be implemented incrementally and in conjunction with current teaching practices; used in any discipline and any course level, including both undergraduate and graduate-level courses; and combined with other pedagogical innovations.
  • JiTT increases teaching efficiency and effectiveness- Instructors are often concerned that JiTT will take more time relative to lecturing, leading to less content coverage. On the contrary, using JiTT exercises to determine areas where students are having the most difficulty means that you can focus classroom attention where it has the biggest impact rather than using a "shotgun approach" that may waste students' time and reduce motivation.
  • JiTT improves student preparation for class- At the top of most instructors' list of "teaching problems" is insufficient student preparation for class. JiTT provides a positive incentive for students to complete JiTT exercises, knowing that their responses will be used to inform the structure and activities of the next class. Students in JiTT-based courses come to class better prepared, which in turn increases the level of in-class engagement and learning, whether in a small seminar course or a large lecture-based course.
  • JiTT transforms the classroom- Starting a class by showing a sample of JiTT responses completely changes the classroom learning environment. Students love to see their work used as the basis for the day's activities, whether a classroom discussion or small-group, hands-on activities. In either case, students are engaged and ready to learn, using their own words and thought-processes as starting points.