Talk Nerdy to Me: Looking for Answers about Reading Questions

This week in Talk Nerdy to Me, we’re going to look at the reading questions – that neat feature that pops up at the end of sessions, asking you to reflect on what you read and to put it into your own words. Reading questions help you get organized for the seminars as they test whether or not you truly understood what you read, and prepare you for discussing the texts with your peers. While this feature has been steadily used by you all, we can detect quite a bit of fluctuation when we look at the data:


We can see clearly that you were most eager to use this feature the first time it was introduced, in session II, when 44 answers were given. This enthusiasm seems to have declined in the following weeks, with sessions III through V recording between ten and eleven answers each. However, for session VI – the one about essay writing – 18 answers were given, which is a clear uptick. This didn’t last all too long though, as the last two sessions had four and five answers each.

Now, what does this tell us? Well, there’s multiple possible interpretations. Maybe the semester has gotten too busy, with too many other things to do, and the reading questions have moved into the background. However, the uptick in session VI seems to suggest something else: it is possible that as the semester goes on, you all have grown more confident in your ability to understand the readings, extract what’s important and discuss it in class even if you haven’t written it down first. The uptick then shows that when it’s about topics that you might not be so familiar with, you rely on the questions again. This would mean that how many answers are given is dependent on how confident students are about their understanding of the material. What this also shows us is that reading questions are very helpful for your understanding – it can even be a good idea to go back to older sessions and see if you could still answer them now, to check if you remember what you’ve learned this semester already. So, keep on answering those questions, and, for now, enjoy the holidays!  

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