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Learning technologies should be designed to increase, and not to reduce, the amount of personal contact between students and faculty on intellectual issues.
(Study Group on the Conditions of Excellence in American Higher Education, 1984)

What is Just-in-Time Teaching?

G. Novak, gnovak@iupui.edu
Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT for short) is a teaching and learning strategy based on the interaction between web-based study assignments and an active learner classroom. Students respond electronically to carefully constructed web-based assignments which are due shortly before class, and the instructor reads the student submissions "just-in-time" to adjust the classroom lesson to suit the students' needs. Thus, the heart of JiTT is the "feedback loop" formed by the students' outside-of-class preparation that fundamentally affects what happens during the subsequent in-class time together.

What is Just-in-Time Teaching designed to accomplish?

JiTT is aimed at many of the challenges facing students and instructors in today's classrooms. Student populations are diversifying. In addition to the traditional nineteen-year-old recent high school graduates, we now have a kaleidoscope of "non-traditional" students: older students, working part time students, commuting students, and, at the service academies, military cadets. They come to our courses with a broad spectrum of educational backgrounds, interests, perspectives, and capabilities that compel individualized, tailored instruction. They need motivation and encouragement to persevere. Consistent, friendly support can make the difference between a successful experience and a fruitless effort. It can even mean the difference between graduating and dropping out. Education research has made us more aware of learning style differences and of the importance of passing some control of the learning process over to the students. Active learner environments yield better results but they are harder to manage than lecture oriented approaches. Three of the "Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education" encourage student-faculty contact, increased time for student study, and cooperative learning between students.
To confront these challenges, the Just-in-Time Teaching strategy pursues three major goals:

What JiTT is Not

Although Just-in-Time Teaching makes heavy use of the web, it is not to be confused with either distance learning (DL) or with computer-aided instruction (CAI). Virtually all JiTT instruction occurs in a classroom with human instructors. The web materials, added as a pedagogical resource, act primarily as a communication tool and secondarily as content provider and organizer. JiTT is also not an attempt to 'process' large numbers of students by employing computers to do massive grading jobs.

The JiTT Feedback Loop

The Web Component

JiTT web pages fall into three major categories: