Header Image - Welcome to the Seelio Blog

Lauren Atkins Budde

The Snowball Effect: Evolving Your Class Into An Active Learning Experience

Welcome to the second post in our two-part series about evolving your course to incorporate active learning. Previously we shared how one professor at Ohio University evolved his course into a “90 minute creativity concert” of active learning. Today we’ll share actionable tips that you can apply to your courses.

The Snowball Effect

WHAT IT IS AND WHY IT WORKS

As we covered how Eric Williams transformed his MDIA 1020: Media and the Creative Process course from a traditional, lecture-based format to an engaging, active-learning “90 minute creativity concert,” we were inspired to think about and share ways that other faculty in any discipline could do the same, using a concept called the “snowball effect.”

The snowball effect is a process which begins with one small change that builds upon itself, becoming larger and more significant along the way, like a ball of snow rolling down a hillside. If properly guided, this process can have a majorly positive impact on a situation just by taking small steps along the way.

Changing a class is not a simple process, but it can be made easier by approaching the process of evolving the course slowly and methodically. By instituting a few small changes each semester, you can “snowball” a successful, manageable evolution of the course in just a couple of years, giving you time to adjust, get comfortable, and evaluate. Let’s talk about a few ways you can get started.

How Eric Williams is Evolving His Class Into a 90 Minute Creativity Concert of Active Learning

Want to know one of the secrets to turning an “okay” class into a “great” one?

The secret is understanding the “snowball effect.” The snowball effect is a process which begins with one small change that builds upon itself, becoming larger and more significant along the way, like a ball of snow rolling down a hillside. If properly guided, this evolutionary process can have a majorly positive impact on a situation just by taking small steps along the way.

If anyone knows the merits of this process, it’s Eric Williams, an associate professor in the School of Media Arts & Studies at Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication. Eric teaches a course called MDIA 1020: Media and the Creative Process, which he has been evolving over time into an incredible active learning experience for his students.

MDIA 1020 Student Showcase