Just in Time Teaching

Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) is a technique where students are expected to do a pre-class activity, submit responses to this activity, and then the instructor uses these responses to tailor class to the specific needs of the students.  Examples of this includes writing short explanations to questions that require students to describe, compare, or synthesize (Marrs & Novak 2004).  Other examples include students  writing a paragraph or two in response to a reading (see Just in Time Response Papers in the ABL Connect Activities Database), answering multiple choice questions (Crouch & Mazur 2001) or doing mathematical computations online. Other examples include relevant puzzles and enrichment essays that help connect classroom material to the real world (“Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) | Center for Teaching | Vanderbilt University” n.d.).

Students learn new concepts best when their pre-existing knowledge is identified and addressed (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000). Thus JiTT uses pre-class activities to identify student misconceptions and prior knowledge, synchronize student responses with classroom instruction, and provide classroom time to confront misconceptions (Marrs, Blake, & Gavrin, 2003).

Additionally JiTT has been shown to increase retention, process skills and content knowledge in STEM disciplines (Marrs et al., 2003). JiTT also helps students to be better prepared for class, helps instructors better understand student thinking, and may also help change students’ study habits by forcing them to be thinking about course material outside of class on a continuous basis (Novak, Patterson, Gavrin, & W, 1999).  JiTT can also help students develop better metacognitive skills, particularly if one of the pre-class questions is “What is still unclear?” (Watkins & Mazur, 2010).

JiTT has been shown to be effective across a broad range of types of institutions in the United States and around the world (Fagen, Crouch, & Mazur, 2002). and can also help to diminish gender gaps in student learning (Lorenzo, Crouch, & Mazur, 2006).

How student responses to pre-class activities are used in class has impact on the effectiveness of JiTT.  Student perception of instructors use of pre-class responses impacts completion rate (and thus effectiveness) (Scharff, Rolf, Novotny, & Lee, 2011).  Peer Instruction (see ABL Connect Activity Database for examples) can be an especially effective partner with JiTT as  JiTT helps students first express their initial ideas and then through targeted questioning via Peer Instruction students can develop a more sophisticated understanding (Watkins & Mazur, 2010).  In particular the combination of JiTT, tutorials, and Peer Instruction has been shown to produce particularly high normalized gains on concept tests (Crouch & Mazur, 2001).

-J. Rolf, Yale University

Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.). (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition. The National Academies Press. Retrieved from http://www.nsta.org/store/product_detail.aspx?lid=amzn&id=10.2505/978030...

Crouch, C. H., & Mazur, E. (2001). Peer Instruction: Ten years of experience and results. American Journal of Physics, 69(9), 970. doi:10.1119/1.1374249

Fagen, A. P., Crouch, C. H., & Mazur, E. (2002). Peer instruction: Results from a range of classrooms. The Physics Teacher, 40, 206.

Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) | Center for Teaching | Vanderbilt University. (n.d.). Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) | Center for Teaching | Vanderbilt University. cft.vanderbilt.edu. Retrieved January 7, 2014, from http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/teaching-guides/teaching-activities/just-in-ti...

Lorenzo, M., Crouch, C. H., & Mazur, E. (2006). Reducing the gender gap in the physics classroom. American Journal of Physics, 74(2), 118. doi:10.1119/1.2162549

Marrs, K. A., & Novak, G. (2004). Just-in-Time Teaching in Biology: Creating an Active Learner Classroom Using the Internet. Cell Biology Education, 3(1), 49–61. doi:10.1187/cbe.03-11-0022

Marrs, K. A., Blake, R. E., & Gavrin, A. D. (2003). Use of warm up exercises in just-in-time teaching to determine students prior knowledge and misconceptions in biology, chemistry, and physics. J Coll Sci Teach, 33, 42–47.

Novak, G., Patterson, E. T., Gavrin, A. D., & W, C. (1999). Just-In-Time Teaching: Blending Active Learning with Web Techology. Prentice Hall.

Scharff, L., Rolf, J., Novotny, L. C. S., & Lee, M. R. (2011). Factors impacting completion of pre-class assignments (JiTT) in Physics, Math, and Behavioural Sciences. In C. Rust (Ed.), Improving Student Learning Global Theories and Local Practices: Institutional, Disciplinary and Cultural Variations. Oxford Brookes University, UK.

Watkins, J., & Mazur, E. (2010). Just-in-Time Teaching and Peer Intruction. In S. P. Simkins & M. H. Maier (Eds.), Just-in-Time Teaching Across the Disciplines, and Across the Academy (pp. 39–62). Stylus Pub Llc.