University takes to new learning approach
Al Khobar, April 30, 2012
Classes at Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University (PMU) have started using the application of peer instruction (PI) active learning approach for the first time in Saudi Arabia.
Dr Valli Boobal Pillai-Batchelor, a PMU faculty, applies this approach in her finance classes at the university’s female campus, a statement from the university said.
PI active learning approach is an exclusive teaching method developed and introduced by eminent Harvard University researcher cum professor of Physics, Eric Mazur, and is applied by many reputed universities worldwide.
Dr Batchelor raised her classroom experiences to the attention of Professor Mazur - who offered to interact with her students at PMU to assess how Saudi Arabian girls can adapt to active learning approaches.
After interaction with the students through Skype, the Harvard professor, said: “It was clear that the active engagement fostered in Dr Batchelor’s classroom helps students from PMU to develop a passion for learning. The way Saudi Arabian female students learn is not different than it is in any other part of the world.”
“Although the approach is unconventional for such students, improvement in learning has been enormous – as evidenced through Professor Mazur’s expert opinion and students’ personal reflections,” said Dr Batchelor.
Dr Philline Deraney, associate vice rector, female campus, said: “Our students’ exposure to this approach as well as such prominent educators as Dr Mazur is an empowering and motivating tool for them - from both learning and teaching perspectives.”
PMU female campus distinguishes as the first Saudi Arabian University to apply PI approach for its students, the statement said. – TradeArabia News Service