Concept maps as a way to wrap up the semester

At the end of Typology this past fall, I had students do a concept map, and based on my experience with that, I think it'll be my new favourite way to end a small class. (Credit for the idea goes to Connor Robinson-Arnull. Thanks, Connor!)

Implementing it was very easy. I went through all the handouts that I'd distributed throughout the term, and I created a list of 100 terms/concepts. The list was not exhaustive, but it gave good coverage. In case students forgot what the term meant, I gave them the handout date, but randomized the list so that the terms for a given topic didn't all appear together.

The activity took nearly the whole class, and it was a nice way to bring things together. It allowed me to see how the students conceptualized the content that we covered, and to see them create a narrative that sometimes mirrored the narrative I presented, but sometimes diverged. What was particularly gratifying was to see the students help each other with terms, reminding each other what various concepts were and how they thought that these ideas related to each other. I didn't interfere unless I students had misconceptions, which I clarified.

With 15 minutes left to the class, I finished with another activity. I asked students to take a few minutes to provide an answer to the question, "Why study typology?", and write down their thoughts. Then we went around the room and the students shared their answers.

Overall, this was a very nice way to end the class, particularly for a seminar-style upper-level course with no final exam, though I can see how this would be useful in a variety of different classes.

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