New Faculty Workshop
November 17 - 20, 2011

"Just-In-Time Teaching (JiTT)"

Andy Gavrin, IUPUI


Many of us have long sought after ways to better tailor our classes to our particular students' needs. We strive both to provide timely remediation and drill to the weaker students and to provide relevant enrichment material to the stronger students. While totally individualized instruction is beyond our reach, interactive use of the World Wide Web provides a tool that approximates the ideal goal. In this session, we explored the World Wide Web as a tool to improve and individualize the learning experience by just-in-time sampling of the students' status in the course and adjusting the classroom activity accordingly.

In Preparation For The Session

You probably visited the "WarmUp" page. In the spirit of Just-in-Time Teaching, the WarmUp page requested some input from you.

Session Presentation (avalable after the session)

"How to Get Your Students to Prepare for Every Class"

After the session

Your homework is to to begin to think of possible warmup questions for the class you will teach next semester or next year. If you need help structuring your thinking about this, try this handout, which I use in longer "workshop" settings (downloads as a .docx file).

Sources of free warmup questions and other materials.

Additional JiTT Resources and References (other than your JiTT book, which you have, thanks to Pearson Education)

Implementations of JiTT

A Few Papers about JiTT:

Relevant Pedagogy/Student Learning References (non-JiTT-specific)

(Websites will open in a new window)

Links to other relevant sites and references mentioned (maybe!) during the Session (non-JiTT-specific)

Web sites mentioned/shown (will open in a new window):


Special thanks to Gregor Novak, of USAFA and IUPUI, and Evelyn Patterson (USAFA) The "Just-in-Time Teaching" project has its roots in a close collaborative effort among us and, several faculty (former and current) at the US Air Force Academy (including especially Tom Summers and Rolf Enger), and Wolfgang Christian and Mario Belloni at Davidson College. Partial support of this work has been provided by NSF grants DUE-9752365, DUE-9981111, DUE-0333646.

Additional comments about JiTT

A few comments about the Just-in-Time Teaching with the World Wide Web technique described at the New Faculty Workshop and on these pages:

First, it is important to note that these activities are based on results from physics education research. The web outside-of-class (homework) component is followed up by a strong and central in-class component in which the instructor and the students address the ideas and explanations offered by the students via the web assignment.

To understand this technique, it is crucial to realize that the in-class activities start where the students are and address what the students think, rather than assuming the students know nothing about the topic at hand. In this way, we are trying to more closely match "what we teach" and "what the students learn." (Much of current Physics Education research specifically addresses this issue. See, for example, Lillian McDermott's American Journal of Physics article, "Millikan Lecture 1990: What we teach and what is learned -- Closing the Gap," Vol.  59, 1991, p. 301, and also her Ann. New York Acad. Sci. article, "How We Teach and How Students Learn," Vol.  701, 9, 1993.) Our in-class activities employ active learner and cooperative group problem solving techniques (a la Patricia Heller's American Journal of Physics articles, Vol. 60, Number 7, July 1992, pp. 627-636 and pp. 637-644). Thus our use of the web is founded upon and employs established techniques in addition to incorporating a new component.

In both the USAFA and IUPUI settings, where Just-in-Time Teaching first began, specific issues must be addressed if we hope to enhance our students' learning, and this just-in-time technique provides an unprecedented opportunity to do so. For both the IUPUI and USAFA students, time management is an absolutely critical issue. The IUPUI students generally have full time jobs, family responsibilities, and are taking courses on top of already full schedules. The Air Force Academy cadets are expected to uphold demanding academic, military, and athletic responsibilities and find their 6 or 7 courses per semester very challenging. As their instructors, we must help them make the best possible use of their outside-of-class (and in-class!) time, motivate them to spend the necessary time, and help them to see that others are sharing their situation and that they are not alone in their efforts to complete the courses successfully.

The key specific goals of our courses are to:

For much more information, browse through your copy of the Just-in-Time Teaching book published by Prentice Hall. Feel free to request more copies for colleagues!

Please, if you decide to adopt or adapt JiTT in your course(s), and/or if you have any questions, let me know. I'll be happy to help you if I can.

Andy Gavrin, IUPUI