Concept questions and similar diagnostic tests and exams have been described in literature and areused in several courses throughout KTH and in academia around the world. It is based on the ideathat students have to properly understand the subject and, thus, cannot rely on a “plug and chug”procedure to derive the correct answer(s). It is a method for the lecturer to, mid-lecture, check thelevel of understanding amongst the students and to adapt the lecture content based on the outcome ofthe concept questions. E.g., if the students performed poorly, material can be revisited and explaineddifferently or more in-depth. This iterative process will hopefully improve the leaning of the studentsand it has been stated in literature that students understand the subject better but not on the expenseof being able to “solve problems” (i.e., using equations).
It is here described how this above mentioned approach was applied in the form of “Concept Cases”in a Master level course at KTH; the problems that were first faced, the discovered necessities forapplication and some remedies performed for improvement. The concept cases were used bothduring lectures but also in the written exams.
It was seen that there are several key components that have to be managed to successfully apply theconcept cases. Firstly, a clear introduction with a proper layout and presentation of the problem isvital so as to minimize any misconceptions surrounding the setting of the concept and problem.Secondly, the nature of the multiple choice questions has to be rational, i.e., ludicrous options willinstantly guide the students to the correct answer(s) and will, thus, lower the impact of the conceptcase. Thirdly, an open discussion amongst the students is critical to promote and evolve theirreasoning. Finally, a clear and distinct presentation of the answer(s) together with an open discussionabout the students, and lecturers, reasoning is needed.
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015.