Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) very cool but hamstrung by lousy name and lack of implementation

Tuesday October 8, 2013

Gelman posted a 15-step process for using Google Forms* (now part of Google Drive, of course) to set up web-based pre-class questions for students to complete - a key element of Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT). (Gelman uses "jitt" also to refer to a question or group of questions that constitute an assignment.)

The "just-in-time" of JiTT refers to engaging students just before a class and accessing that interaction to customize instruction and encourage active thought and discussion. It's similar to the entrance and (more commonly) "exit tickets" that I've heard about and sometimes used. (JiTT, as an acronym or expanded, is a horrible name for this.)

The definitive publication on JiTT seems to be Just-in-Time Teaching: Blending Active Learning with Web Technology by Novak et al., published way back in 1999. That era seems to be when most of the implementation was done as well: example.

It's a pity that this approach doesn't have better backing and good implementations for people to use. Why should teachers who want to do this have to go through 15 steps of rigamarole with Google Forms? Why does this approach seem to be languishing, broadly? The web has come so far since 1999, but even the wiki page for JiTT seems to be a backwater. (I corrected two typos, and there are more issues there...) I suspect that JiTT's origins in post-secondary education, where professors often advance their careers primarily through research in their specialty (Novak is a physicist) rather than by improving teaching methods (Novak is not in a school of education) is part of the unfortunate story.

I would like to see this problem corrected. There should be a good tool for this online somewhere.


This post was originally hosted elsewhere.