Video: Students Become the Experts at Housatonic Community College


Professor Laura Turiano knew she needed to try something different.

Turiano and the students in her human services class at Housatonic Community College (HCC) were about to begin a unit on social welfare programs. In past semesters, the unit left many students overwhelmed with the amount of information they needed to retain.

“I used to stand up in front of the classroom and lecture about all these programs,” Turiano recalled in an interview on campus this month.

This spring, Turiano decided to “make students the experts.” Applying a jigsaw exercise she learned from ACUE’s Using Active Learning Techniques unit, Turiano broke students into small groups and assigned each group a social welfare program to research and present to their peers in class.

“The classroom was alive,” said Turiano. “It became this lively discussion with the students recording all of this information. There was this voracious quest for knowledge.”

Turiano is among the founding faculty cohort at HCC to earn a Certificate in Effective College Instruction. Click here to learn more about ACUE’s partnership with HCC and the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system.

Watch the full interview with Turiano below:

For Loretta Lloyd-Ebron, one of Turiano’s students, the approach was “totally different” from what she was used to in her other classes.

“It was amazing,” said Lloyd-Ebron. “The classroom changed. We were talking, discussing, writing, piggybacking off of each other. It was a really great experience.”

6 thoughts on “Video: Students Become the Experts at Housatonic Community College”

  1. I love this approach, however within our current Covid 19 reduction of contact, i will need to experiment with ways to make this happen. Students can still communicate in small groups and still maintain the social distancing required in our classrooms. I am fully confident that this process will work in my class.
    Plus this now gives me the opportunity to walk around, listen in to the conversations and observe their progress and enlightenment.

  2. Small group activities are not possible in all the classes. Why do everyone in this course assume we are teaching social sciences,
    there are us that teach statistics and math, and although some of the techniques apply they are no universal.

  3. I love this approach. I have done this in the past, however, with the computers on the desk it makes it hard to for the students to write and move around my classroom. If my environment was set up for this I would still implement it.

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