It has been very important to consider the reason WHY I would want to ask the students questions. I cannot ask them to apply theory to more practical situations in the way Eric Mazur can. However, there are a few reasons: to engage students; to prepare them for the exams; and for me to know which passages they found difficult in the handbook (and adapt my lecture accordingly).
For example, after explaining the intensity of trade in the Bronze Age, I told the students about the Uluburun shipwreck and asked them what they expected the ship carried. After they had answered, I could tell them what was actually in it (exceeding every of their expectations in terms of quantity and quality).
Which topic in the textbook did you find most difficult this week?
At the start of a lecture, I would ask what they found most difficult – sometimes with unexpected results:
A few times (this was most effective when exams were coming!) I used some old multiple choice exam questions to test the students’ knowledge. They are tested by means of essay questions, but the multiple choice questions did show in how much detail you needed to know the textbook. For example the following two questions (and part of the result sheet, right):
It was interesting to see (in retrospect) that many students who gave two wrong answers were also the students taking resits.