From the 2017 Live Streaming Pilot, Making Lectures Interactive workshops, Active Learning Special FLTC meeting, Feedback/Feedforward workshop, and my invited presentation at the 2017 Annual Echo360 Active Learning Conference, we experimented with the Echo360 Active Learning Platform a lot in 2017!

Here is the first of many provocations for 2018:

“We do know that of all the questions that teachers ask [students], teachers answer 80 percent of them, because we abhor vacuums, we don’t like silence.”
– Sandy Eisenberg Sasso via OnBeing

From Authoritative to Dialogic Interaction

The typical class interaction follows the IRE/F model:

Diagram illustrating IRE/F model

IRE/F model: teacher Initiates by asking a question, students Respond with answer, the teacher Evaluates or provides Feedback/Follow-up. Then return to monologue.

we need to foster student-initiated and student-centric dialogic approaches.

In order to move beyond lower thinking order skills (e.g. recall), we need to foster student-initiated and student-centric dialogic approaches – enter the QR model:

Diagram of QR model

QR model: student(s) asks Question(s) then students and/or teachers Respond

Here are two (2) ways to maximise Interactive Slides in class (from lectures and tutorials, to workshops and practicals) by transform your existing materials using the QR model:

Types of interactive questions in ALP

Types of interactive questions in ALP

Example 1

  • Tie in pre-class work to the beginning of the class
  • Push students beyond recall
  • Involve students in the sense-making
Previously Transformation
IRF structure using Peer Instruction model:

The problems here are:

  • the lecturer controls the questions
  • all learning interactions are viewed from the perspective of the single scientifically validated explanation (i.e. find the answer and move on)
Apply the QR model:

Add a follow up question – ‘why and how’ by selecting the Require Justification checkbox when creating your Interactive Slide.

Create a Short Answer activity to be completed by students prior to class:

Interactive Slide: Short Answer

Then, use this information to identify the topics or concepts of difficulty in the pre-class activities (readings, problems, etc.).

New approach

At the beginning of the class, use the student questions from the Short Answer activity and allocate to small groups to respond (or use Peer Instruction model here).

Instead of focusing the Evaluation / Feedback on identifying the single correct answer at the outset, focus on exploring the range of students’ ideas.

…the more collaborative and discursive the interactions, the more teacher-student interactions are SENSE-MAKING rather than just answer-making…
– Wood et al. (2018)

Example 2

  • To shift focus from basic information
  • Push students to apply and extend ideas taught in class
  • Involve students in identifying and resolving gaps in knowledge
Previously Transformation
Closed questions around factual or procedural content. Prompt or allow for spontaneous student questions that open up ideas taught in class:

Use an Ordered List activity to rank the most to least likely causes of X; plus select the Require Justification checkbox to allow students to add their own explanation and/or cause to the list of options:

Interactive Slide: Ordered List

Prior to class, task students with proposing a prediction question ‘What would happen if…‘ using the Question tool:

Select a few questions and create a Multiple Choice activity – plus Require Justification checkbox.

During class, students vote on the one they would most like to discuss. You can then briefly explore the ‘What would happen if…‘ scenario students selected.

“A wonderment question can be EVIDENCE that a student has understood the material at a basic factual level, and is starting to use it for higher order THINKING and REASONING.”
– Wood et al. (2018)

Active Learning Platform Training

Check out Echo360’s Resource Center or contact your friendly neighbourhood faculty Learning Designer.

Further Reading

Wood, A.K., Galloway, R.K., Sinclair, C. & Hardy, J. (2018). Teacher-student discourse in active learning lectures: case studies from undergraduate physics. Teaching in Higher Education. DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2017.1421630 via MQ Library

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(above): Select slides from 2017 Annual Echo360 Active Learning Conference – invited presentation.

Posted by Beverley Miles

Beverley is a Senior Learning Designer in the Academy of Continuing Professional Development in Education, Faculty of Arts. She is the founder of the Macquarie Undergraduate Research Internship (MURI), co-director of the Telemachus Ancient History Mentor Program (Tele's Angels), and member of the Archaeology of Death and Burial TV team led by A/Prof Ronika Power – bringing digital multimodal text types to assessment with Adobe Education.


  1. Great post, Bev!


  2. Amanda Parker 7 March, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Great article! Why and how to incorporate interactive slides into a lecture. Starting small with just a couple of activities/questions can make a big difference!


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