This is the second post inspired by my reading of Malcolm Gladstone’s The Tipping Point.
According to Gladstone,
The stickiness factor says there are specific ways of making a contagious message sticky; there are relatively simple changes in the presentation and structuring of information that can make a big difference in how much of an impact it makes.
A course is more than information, and making a course sticky is likely more than a question of whether or not to use powerpoint (i.e. how the instructor presents the information). I suspect a sticky course (or class session) is compelling. Students feel compelled to engage with the material. This may involve including playful elements in the course.
Suggesting that a course be compelling is different from the old canard that teaching needs to be entertaining. Attending the Faculty Academy is compelling, but I wouldn’t describe it primarily as entertaining. Calling it “entertaining” is to trivialize powerful teaching.
Compelling, intriguing, enticing, playful, inspiring. These are words I associate with sticky courses.
A sticky course, then, draws the student in, makes the student want to participate and contribute to the learning experience. How does an instructor craft a course to make it this way? There are probably as many ways as instructors. Anyone care to provide some suggestions.
Can one do this for forty-two consecutive class sessions? Not likely, but then I couldn’t attend the Faculty Academy for forty-two consecutive days, either. It would be too much stimulation with not enough time for reflection and assimilation. This suggests to me that while one couldn’t realistically construct a course with every session sticky, one should be able to build a regular rhythm of this into a course.
How would you do this? If you’re a student, what makes a course session compelling to you? If you’re a teacher, what have you found to do this?