A small joke may go a long way

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review


This paper reports and analyzes the author’s own
experiences of implementing a “joke starting” strategy into the
lecture format of a given course. The “joke starting” strategy
meant that every lecture in the studied course was (jump) started
with a small joke. Thus, we investigate one particular approach
to consciously use humor in teaching, an area well represented in
the literature. The ambition with the “joke starting” strategy was
to improve classroom climate, increase student interaction and
achieve a better learning experience. The study deals with a
single course, which the author taught three times 2002-2004.
The “joke starting” strategy was introduced in 2003 and used
also in 2004. No other conscious changes were made to the course
format or its content during these years. Hence, by investigating
course evaluations and grade distributions we can quantitatively
measure the overall impact of the “joke starting” strategy on
students’ perceptions of the course and their learning results.
This is complemented with anecdotal evidence from the author
regarding the perceptions of changes in the classroom climate
and students’ interaction levels. The results indicate that the
“joke starting” strategy was quite successful. The students’
evaluations and the grade distributions improved across the
board. Moreover, the anecdotal evidence speaks about a more
open and interactive classroom climate. The conclusion from this
small empirical study is therefore that a small joke may go a long
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 2:a Utvecklingskonferensen för Sveriges ingenjörsutbildningar
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Event2:a Utvecklingskonferensen för Sveriges ingenjörsutbildningar, 2009 - Lund, Lund, Sweden
Duration: 2009 Dec 22009 Dec 3


Conference2:a Utvecklingskonferensen för Sveriges ingenjörsutbildningar, 2009

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Transport Systems and Logistics

Free keywords

  • SoTL


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