Monday, May 5, 2014

Non-Coercive Exam Review Sessions

As a student, I hated exam review sessions. I considered them coercive. I felt compelled to attend even if I had no questions, lest I miss something important the professor might say.

Because of that, I have always been reluctant to hold exam review sessions in my own classes. But I recently realized that technology can eliminate the coercion. As long as I record the review session and make it available to all students, no one is compelled to attend. Students who skip the voluntary review session can check the recording to make sure they didn’t miss anything of interest.

I have been making recordings of my classes available to students for several years, so I should have thought of this much sooner. I usually blame my spouse for my failures, so I’ll try to think of some way to blame this on her as well.

I’m not sure why students still want exam review sessions. In this era of ubiquitous email, you don’t need to have the professor in the room to ask questions. And my email responses are probably better than off-the-cuff answers in class. But, for whatever reason, students still like review sessions and, now that the coercive element is gone, review sessions they shall have.

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