Save the Last Word for Me: Encouraging Students to Engage with Complex Reading and Each Other

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  1. AriN1994

    I think Save the Last Word for Me is a valuable tool that should be used in more educational settings. This program allows students to work together and determine the deeper meaning behind these difficult passages. It prevents them from continually choosing easy readings and ensures they do not only interpret harder passages at the surface level. The merits of deep learning have been demonstrated in Platow's study with undergraduate students studying psychology. Students who used deep learning methods in their first semester were subsequently more likely to identify as a psychology student in their second semester. As a result, they were more highly motivated to continue studying psychology and became more engaged in the subject. These students also displayed a stronger self-concept compared to the students who used more surface learning techniques. Save the Last Word for Me facilitates deeper learning by pushing students to use defined roles and each others' strengths to understand harder readings.

  2. K. Gradel

    Thanks for sharing this strategy to help build joint ownership of the learning! I suspect that similar results might occur with younger, less experienced online learners if provided with sufficient scaffolds. Do you have any insight on non-graduate populations, based on your work to date?

  3. Tom Carlson

    I intend to try this out next chance I get. My current protocol has students posting every week, roughly, on a topic of their choice from the reading, followed by a required 2 responses to classmates' first postings. The effectiveness of this format depends on the students, who I can roughly divide into 3 groups: Some students love this and use it gladly; others do none of these assignments, claiming technophobia or inability to schedule time for it; and others do the bare minimum – posting and responding but with no apparent depth of thought or real engagement.
    The need to explain themselves at the end of the week, added to the element of choice, is a brilliant idea, and I'm sure it will make a difference for that third group of my students.

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