Muddiest Point

WHAT IS IT?

The Muddiest Point is an activity to help identify where students are having difficulties in their learning.

WHY USE IT?

To get quick feedback on where students are in their learning and to see if some students are struggling with particular areas of the course. Use to:

  • get feedback from students on their understanding of a topic, concept, class, etc

  • promote discussion

  • get students to reflect on their learning

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Explain to students that for this activity the term “muddiest” means most unclear or most confusing. The technique consists of asking students to jot down a quick response to one question: “What was the muddiest point in [the class, discussion, homework assignment, film, etc.]?” You can then address each point in turn.

ACTIVITY

  1. Determine the topic you wish to receive feedback on, e.g. a particular class, class segment, presentation, lecture, assignment or discussion?

  2. If using this technique during class, allow a few minutes of class time to ask questions and collect student responses.

  3. Inform students, prior to starting the activity, of the time available to respond and how their responses will be used.

  4. If in class, provide paper or index cards for collecting written responses.  Collect from students at the end of class.

  5. During the next class, or as soon as possible, respond to the student feedback received.

USING PEN AND PAPER

Students can write down their responses on a card or a post-it note. This can be done anonymously. Students can also discuss their muddiest points in class if they feel comfortable. You might like to summarise points and your responses in a Canvas Discussion Board so that students can revisit the answer.

USING UONLINE

Zoom is a web-conferencing tool that can be used in the classroom to run learning activities.

Students can discuss muddiest points at their tables and communicate these via Zoom.  For example: 

  • Submit a Chat message to the Tutor.

  • Flag a question or difficulty via the Raise Hand function and wait for the Tutor to call upon their group to present their points to the class.

  • Students could write muddiest points on a Main Room or Breakout Room whiteboard, and the Tutor can show selected whiteboard pages to the class and respond to the points.

 

Acknowledgement This resource is based on the “Not a waste of space” project materials produced by RMIT University and the University of Melbourne, with the support of the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching.  Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.