I am planning on teaching a couple of math-y classes next semester that will involve a large amount of in-class group work and discussions, and relatively little lecturing. There will be required outside reading for almost every class (3x/week), but as I am at a large public university where student work habits are not generally great, I am worried about making sure students stay up on the reading for each class. Also, the students will probably not be in the habit of doing reading for math classes.
Currently, to encourage students to stay up-to-date on the readings, this is what I am thinking of doing:
- Use books that are relatively easy to read and hopefully interesting for the students (closer to popular books than textbooks when possible), and try to make each individual reading assignment short.
- Give simple quizzes on the reading once a week or so
- Generally try to make sure the in-class activities are closely related to the assigned readings.
Are there any other effective techniques that would help encourage students to stay current on the reading?
Note: while I want them to read certain things before each class period, I do not want to give a reading quiz every class period.