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News and Events 2017

dB-SERC News


PITTWIRE NEWS

  • Dr. Melissa Libertus, a member of the dB-SERC community, was featured in the Pittwire news.

  • Read the article here!

University Times News

  • Recipients of dB-SERC course transformation awards featured in University Times article
  • Read the article here!

                                      


PITTWIRE NEWS

  • Recipients of dB-SERC course transformation awards mentioned in the "Accolades" section of Pittwire
  • Read the article here!

New dB-SERC Leadership Award

  • This award will be given to any full time faculty member in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences who attends at least 15 dB-SERC lunch discussions, workshops, or seminars during the 2017-2018 academic year. The faculty member will be featured as a dB-SERC Leader for the following year and will also receive an award of $500. 
  • Click here for more details.

ACCOLADES

                            

  • to Dr. Chandralekha Singh for co-leading International Conference on Women in Physics
  • Read about it here!

CONGRATULATIONS 

  • to the recipients of dB-SERC course transformation awards. Ten faculty members received awards to transform courses in biological sciences, physics, geology and environmental science, statistics, and chemistry. 
  • Read about the awards here.

CONGRATULATIONS

  • to Dr. Lillian Chong from the chemistry department, who received the 2017 Tina and David Bellet Teaching Excellence Award. Dr. Chong is a member of the dB-SERC faculty community.

                          

  • to Dr. Alison Slinskey-Legg from the biological sciences department, who also received the 2017 Tina and David Bellet Teaching Excellence Award. Dr. Slinskey-Legg is a member of the dB-SERC faculty community. 

                   

  • Read about it here.

CONGRATULATIONS

  • to Dr. Sean Garrett-Roe, who received the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award! Dr. Garrett-Roe was a recipient of a dB-SERC course transformation award to implement the use of technology and POGIL activities in his chemistry course.

                               

  • Read the article in the University Times here.

Upcoming dB-SERC diversity workshop: "Strategies to help women succeed in STEM professions"

  • Thursday, March 9 from 3- 5 pm, followed by a complimentary dinner 
  • Click here for more information and to sign up

dB-SERC course transformation proposals due March 1, 2017
  • Click here for more information.

Upcoming dB-SERC workshop for undergraduate teaching assistants on Friday, January 20
  • The workshop will focus on discipline-specific issues in the teaching and learning of Natural Sciences and discuss evidence-based strategies for improving the effectiveness of homework sessions and recitations/labs including but not limited to: creating a TA teaching community, fostering collaborative learning, improving student participation, and tailoring help provided to students' prior knowledge.
  • It will be followed by a reception during which complimentary food will be provided.  
  • Interested TAs can click here to sign up for the workshop

 

dB-SERC Events


December 8, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Learning improvement in Higher Education
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Brian Leventhal (James Madison University) 
  • When: Friday December 8 from 12 - 1 pm 
  • Where: 102 Benedum Hall
  • Abstract: Extensive focus continues to be devoted to the development and assessment of student learning outcomes. During this talk, Dr. Brian Leventhal will present on the learning improvement model by Fulcher, Good, Coleman, & Smith (2014) used by the Center for Assessment of Research Studies (CARS) at James Madison University. A conceptual breakdown of learning improvement in higher education can be made into three distinct categories: Assessment, Faculty Development, and Program Theory. Work in these three categories together contributes to improved student learning. Research being performed at the Center for Assessment and Research Studies will be presented using examples from varying disciplines that relate to Assessment, Faculty Development, and Program theory. Brian C. Leventhal earned his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on research methodology, measurement, and statistics. He is currently an assistant professor at James Madison University in the department of graduate psychology and an assistant assessment specialist at the Center for Assessment and Research Studies.
  • To attend this lunch discussion, sign up here

November 30, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Discussion about "flipping" a mathematics course
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Russell Schwab, Michigan State University
  • When: Thursday, November 30 from 12 - 1 pm 
  • Where: 102 Benedum Hall (note that it is not in our usual room)
  • Abstract: A discussion on flipping a classroom in a mathematics curriculum-- it's a no-brainer, just do it.  We will chat about the trials and tribulations-- and successes-- of my recent reorganization of key mathematics course to become a flipped classroom environment.  Please bring lots of questions and curiosity!
  • Russell Schwab is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Michigan State University.  He obtained his Ph.D. from UT Austin and worked as a postdoc at Carnegie Mellon University before joining MSU.  His research is in the area of partial differential and integro-differential equations, and he has done a ground-up reorganization of the introduction to proofs class at MSU in the past 3 years.
  • To sign up for the lunch discussion, please click here.

November 20, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Engaging student scientists to enhance understanding of forest degradation and promote inquiry-based scientific skills 
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Walter Carson, biological sciences
  • When: Monday November 20, 2017 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch, Dr. Walter Carson (biological sciences) will discuss the design of a project for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. The project involves promoting inquiry-based scientific skills and engaging student scientists to think about forest degradation. Dr. Carson plans to engage students enrolled in an Ecology Laboratory class in hypothesis testing so as to enhance their understanding of habitat degradation in an urban forest. Students will work in teams to generate their own hypotheses as to why urban forests throughout the eastern United States are degrading. They will then develop a research plan to test their hypotheses and present a talk presenting their research plans to the class. All students will also participate in a field trip to an urban forest (Eden Hall Campus of Chatham University) where they will collect real data to test their hypotheses. Students will then use these data to write a complete scientific paper in the format typically required by scientific journals. Over time, student scientists will be able to evaluate multiple hypotheses that hone in on the causes forest change. The forest will ultimately serve as a showcase of urban forest restoration for both educational and research purposes. The purpose of the lunch is to give feedback on the design of the project and encourage an interchange of ideas. 
  • If you would like to attend, please sign up here

November 15, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion 

  • Topic: Developing a new statistical learning and data science course
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Lucas Mentch, statistics
  • When: Wednesday November 15, 2017 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch discussion, Dr. Lucas Mentch from the statistics department will discuss the development of a new course “Statistical Learning and Data Science” for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. The course will introduce students to modern methods in statistics, data science, and machine learning not covered in other courses and also foster the development of practical programming skills. The skills and methods learned in this course will be directly transferrable to industry positions while and can also serve as a solid foundation on which to build knowledge in graduate school. The purpose of the lunch discussion is to provide feedback on the design of the course encourage an interchange of ideas.
  • If you would like to attend, please sign up here.

November 8, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Incorporating inquiry and critical discourse in a chemistry course
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Eugene Wagner, chemistry
  • When: Wednesday, November 8 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  •  During the lunch, Dr. Eugene Wagner from the chemistry department will discuss the implementation of a course transformation for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. Dr. Wagner is including guided and open inquiry exploration and critical discourse in the honors general chemistry laboratory curriculum. Students have been working with partners in designing experiments and testing hypotheses via guided and open inquiry experiments. Grading rubrics for lab reports have been designed to incentivize students to engage in written critical discourse, e.g., discussion of chemical concepts, analysis of results, and reflection on their experimental design. The purpose of the lunch discussion is to provide feedback on any implementation issues and encourage an interchange of ideas. 
  • If you would like to attend, please sign up here

October 16, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Implementation of active learning activities in a large environmental science course
  • Discussion leaders: Dr. Kyle Whittinhill, Dr. Danielle Andrews-Brown, geology and environmental science
  • When: Monday, October 16 from 12-1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch discussion, Dr. Kyle Whittinghill and Dr. Danielle Andrews-Brown from the geology and environmental sciences department will discuss the implementation of a course transformation for which they received a dB-SERC course transformation award. They have been incorporating active learning activities into a large introductory environmental science course, such as Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) activities, pre-lecture videos, and formative assessments in their classes. The purpose of the lunch discussion is to provide feedback on the implementation of the project and discuss any implementation difficulties. We hope to see you there. 
  • If you would like to attend, register here.

October 9, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: The purposes of grading student work
  • Discussion leader: Emily Marshman (dB-SERC, physics and astronomy dept.)
  • When: Monday October 9 from 12 - 1 p m
  • Where:  321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch, participants will discuss their views about the various purposes of grading student work and implications for instructors’ grading practices. The purpose of the lunch is to encourage an interchange of ideas. If you would like to attend, please register here. We hope to see you there!

September 25, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Learning from hierarchical templates
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Kirill Kiselyov, biological sciences
  • When: Monday September 25 from 12 - 1 pm 
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch discussion, Dr. Kirill Kiselyov from the biological sciences department will discuss the project “Learning from hierarchical templates,” for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award in his cell biology course. Cell biology involves many advanced concepts and complex tasks, such as connecting observations, reinterpreting findings in a specific experimental context, and making conclusions. To address this complexity, Dr. Kiselyov will implement and assess the practice of using fillable hierarchical templates representing “maps” of information learned in class or from research literature. The templates will graphically represent different levels of information (observations, conclusions, hypotheses) and relations between them. The templates will be filled by the students and analyzed by the instructor and their peers. The approach is expected to help students organize and understand complex information and will serve as a “map” of students’ learning and difficulties. The purpose of the lunch discussion is to provide feedback on the project and encourage an interchange of ideas.
  • We hope to see you there--please register here.

September 18, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion 

  • Topic: Expanding the physics exploration center with virtual experiments
  • Discussion leader: Dr. David Nero, physics and astronomy
  • When: Monday September 18 from 12 - 1 pm 
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the discussion, Dr. David Nero from the physics and astronomy department will discuss a project, “Expanding the physics exploration center with virtual experiments,” for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. Each semester, hundreds of students in introductory physics courses visit the Physics Exploration Center (PEC) to work with hands-on physics experiments at their own pace. These experiments are designed to lead students to a stronger conceptual understanding of physics by challenging their preconceptions of the physical world. Unfortunately, the scope of experiments that are practical to include at the PEC is limited because students need to be able to complete the experiments with minimal guidance, which excludes many potential learning opportunities because the equipment is difficult to use without training. Dr. Nero will create a “virtual lab” to be hosted at the PEC. He will design twelve new experiments for the PEC which will be recorded using a 360 degree 3-D camera. Students will view these experiments at the PEC using a virtual reality headset. The combination of a headset paired with 360 degree 3-D video will give students the sensory experience of actually standing in front of the equipment. The student will then proceed with data analysis as if they had just collected the data themselves. Dr. Nero hopes that the new virtual experiments will improve student attitudes about physics and learning. The purpose of the lunch is to provide feedback on the implementation and assessment of the project and encourage an interchange of ideas.
  • If you would like to attend, please register here.

September 11, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Helping repeating students in biology
  • Discussion leaders: Nancy Kaufmann, Erica McGreevy (biological sciences)
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • When: 12 - 1 pm 
  • During the lunch discussion, Dr. Nancy Kaufmann and Dr. Erica McGreevy from the biological sciences department will discuss a project focused on helping repeating students in Biology 1, for which they received a dB-SERC course transformation award. Each spring term, approximately twenty to thirty percent of the students enrolled in Biology 1 repeat the course. Many of these students struggle and often fail the course again. Dr. Kaufmann will perform a historical analysis of past repeating students and develop a simple intervention in which repeating students will read about successful paths of past repeater students. After reading about the successes of others, the repeating students will develop and articulate a written plan that includes their strategies for success in the course. Dr. Kaufmann plans to design support systems and interventions to help these students be successful and investigate whether addressing motivation and mindset increases repeater success in the Biology 1 course. The purpose of this lunch is to get feedback from faculty members on the implementation and assessment of the project and encourage an interchange of ideas.
  • If you would like to attend, please register here.

dB-SERC New Faculty Workshop

When: Wednesday, August 23rd, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm (complimentary breakfast at 8:45 am)
Where: Allen Hall, Room 321
Who can register: New faculty in Natural Science Departments

The Discipline-Based Science Education Research Center (dB-SERC) will host a workshop on Wednesday, August 23 titled "Strategies for improving and assessing student learning." This workshop is mainly targeted for new faculty, however, any faculty interested in teaching and learning is welcome to attend. In this workshop we will discuss basic strategies to improve student learning based on cognitive research and practical considerations. In addition, strategies to assess the extent to which course goals have been achieved will also be discussed. A complimentary light breakfast (coffee/tea/juices and bagels) and lunch will be provided.

The deadline to RSVP by filling out the registration form is Friday, August 18.


August 14, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Understanding and addressing students' perspsectives in science courses
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Chandralekha Singh
  • When: Monday August 14 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch, Dr. Chandralekha Singh will lead a discussion focused on the article: “Psychological insights for improved physics teaching,” by L. Aguilar, G. Walton, and C. Wieman (2014). The purpose of the lunch is to reflect on some of the concerns of students (such as belonging and views about the nature of intelligence) as well as interventions that address those concerns. 
  • If you would like to join us, click here

July 10, 2017: dB-SERC Lunch discussion

  • Topic: Creating an undergraduate course for Principles of Data Science
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Sungkyu Jung, statistics
  • When: Monday July 10 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch, Dr. Sungkyu Jung from the department of statistics will discuss the development of a data science course for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. In this course, students will learn the fundamental pipeline of data science, ranging from data acquisition, data clean-up, data exploration and visualization, modeling and inference, and professional reporting. These topics are carefully curated to engage students in “thinking with data”. The new course will play a central role in the anticipated future developments of Data Science Major, Minor or Certificates, and has a potential to be extended to a masters-level data-science-introduction course at the University of Pittsburgh. The purpose of the lunch discussion is to provide feedback on the project and encourage an interchange of ideas. 
  • If you would like to join us, click here.

July 3, 2017: Special dB-SERC & Engineering Education Research Center (EERC) lunch discussion

  • Topic: Using the Teaching Practices Inventory and COPUS Protocol to Evaluate Teaching Effectiveness
  • Discussion leaders: Dr. Mary Besterfield-Sacre and Irene Mena, Swanson School of Engineering
  • When: Monday July 3 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • Abstract: In the 2016-2017 academic year, the Swanson School of Engineering piloted an initiative to explore how to better assess teaching effectiveness beyond OMET scores.  Sixteen non-tenure stream engineering faculty completed Weiman’s Teaching Practices Inventory and had their classrooms observed using Weiman’s Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS).  After a summary of the findings is presented, we will lead a discussion to get feedback and outline possible next steps in the assessment of teaching effectiveness.
  • If you would like to join the discussion, please click here

June 26, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic:The use of clickers to support improved self-assessment in introductory science courses
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Beth Lindsey, Penn State Greater Allegheny
  • Where:321 Allen Hall
  • “Calibration” is an aspect of metacognition that describes how well students assess their own knowledge. We have been engaged in a multi-year project to investigate the metacognitive calibration of students enrolled in introductory physics and chemistry courses at a small campus of a large public university. When assessed at the end of the semester, we found a large disparity between students’ confidence in their ability to answer questions compared to their actual ability to provide the correct answer on a large number of questions that spanned the course material. This discrepancy was present in students of all ability levels. With the hope of improving the accuracy of these judgments, course modifications were introduced that used i-clickers to allow students to make numerous confidence judgments throughout the semester. The judgments were immediately followed by an actual assessment of knowledge on the identical topic. Data assessing the effectiveness of this intervention at improving students’ metacognitive calibration will be presented. 
  • If you plan to attend, please register here.

June 12, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Reflections on a course transformation in psychology
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Tim Nokes-Malach, psychology
  • When: Monday June 12 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch, Dr. Timothy Nokes-Malach from the psychology department will discuss the transformation of a large-enrollment psychology course for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. The course transformation involves “flipping” classroom instruction and providing opportunities for students to engage in activities based on principles from cognitive science, including self-explanation, analogical comparison, and memory-retrieval practice. 
  • The purpose of the discussion is to reflect on the effectiveness of the course transformation and discuss assessment of the project. Suggestions for future iterations are encouraged.
  • If you plan to attend, please register here.

May 31, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Reflecting on a course transformation focused on developing an assessment bank in statistics
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Nancy Pfenning, statistics dept. 
  • When: Wednesday May 31 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch discussion, Dr. Nancy Pfenning (Statistics) will reflect on a course transformation with Brian Leventhal (Research Methodology) that involved developing a bank of materials for use in the Applied Statistical Methods (1000) course for which they received a course transformation award.  The bank of statistics materials were designed to be consistent with the statistics department’s goals for instruction in Stat 1000 and serve as a valuable resource, especially for new instructors. 
  • The purpose of the discussion is to reflect on the effectiveness of the course transformation and discuss assessment of the project. Suggestions for future iterations are encouraged. We hope you can join us.
  • If you plan to attend, please register here

May 15, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion 

  • Topic: Transformation of a large introductory environmental science course
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Kyle Whittinghill, geology and environmental science dept.
  • When: Monday May 15 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch discussion, Dr. Kyle Whittinghill from the geology and environmental sciences department will discuss the design of a course transformation for which she received a dB-SERC course transformation award. This is the first dB-SERC course transformation award that has been given in the geology and environmental science department. Dr. Whittinghill proposes to incorporate active learning activities into a large introductory environmental science course. For example, she plans to use Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) activities, pre-lecture videos, and formative assessments in the class. The purpose of the lunch discussion is to provide feedback on the project and encourage an interchange of ideas.  
  • If you would like to sign up, please click here

Special Upcoming dB-SERC Faculty Retreat

  • Thursday, May 4, 2017 from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm in the O'Hara Student Center (breakfast and lunch will be served)
  • The purpose of this retreat is for faculty from each department to discuss how assessment can be used to improve student learning with colleagues in their department and from other natural science departments. dB-SERC will also learn about the challenges and opportunities pertaining to teaching, learning, and assessment in each department and the types of support that dB-SERC can provide to help faculty members and departments use assessment to improve student learning.
  • To sign up, click here. For a schedule of the event, click here

 

April 17, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion 

  • Topic: Reflections on flipping, formative assessment, and student group work in a computer science course
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Adam Lee, computer science
  • When: Monday April 17 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch, Dr. Adam Lee from the computer science department will reflect on a course transformation of a large enrollment computer science course for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. The number of computer science majors at Pitt has increased over 100% over the last 5 years, which has resulted in larger class sizes. The computer science department transformed a core computer science course from a small to large classroom format. The course transformation involved using research-based approaches for large classes, including a flipped classroom approach, in-class clicker questions, the development of a quiz bank for use in recitations and outside of class, and frequent use of formative assessments. The purpose of the lunch is to reflect on the effectiveness of the course transformation and discuss assessment of the project. Suggestions for future implementations of the transformation are encouraged. 
  • If you would like to sign up, please click here

April 10, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion 

  • Topic:There’s more than one way to solve for T: A discussion of the goals of scientific problem-solving instruction
  • Discussion Leader: Dr. Eric Kuo, LRDC
  • When: Monday April 10, 2017 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • Abstract:  In scientific problem solving, there are often many approaches for reaching the same final answer. What do these different problem-solving approaches reveal about students’ problem-solving ability? To prompt a discussion with the audience, I’ll present examples of how the same problem can be solved using either calculations or concepts. Audience members will be asked to share their professional opinions on the value of these different approaches and whether they are desirable targets of undergraduate instruction. I’ll end by describing a novel curriculum for introductory undergraduate students that is successful at promoting conceptual problem solving.  
  • If you would like to join the discussion, click here

April 5, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion 

  • Discussion topic: Implementing an honors component in a neuroscience course
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Debra Artim, neuroscience
  • When: Wednesday April 5 from 12 - 1 pm (note the different day)
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch, Dr. Debra Artim from the neuroscience department will discuss the implementation of a project for which she received a dB-SERC course transformation award. Dr. Artim is transforming the course Neurophysiology to an honors level neuroscience course. The honors component of the course involves primary literature readings and computer simulation modeling programs. Primary literature readings are facilitated by journal club-type discussions and group presentations of primary literature. These exercises strive to help students develop their critical reading and thinking skills and understand the methodology underlying neurophysiology research. Students also use computer simulation modeling programs to develop scientific reasoning skills. The purpose of the discussion is to discuss the implementation and assessment of the project and receive feedback from faculty members.
  • If you would like to join, click here.

March 27, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Integrating biology and chemistry laboratory courses
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Kitty Liu, chemistry
  • When: Monday, March 27, 2017 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch, Dr. Kitty Liu from the chemistry department will discuss the implementation of a project for which she received a dB-SERC course transformation award. She has been developing and implementing an interdisciplinary laboratory curriculum that integrates a biology lab course with two chemistry lab courses. The research-based chemistry laboratory courses offer undergraduate students real-world research experiences, and the highly interdisciplinary curriculum allows undergraduate students to connect the dots from different disciplines and can better prepare them for solving complex research challenges in future. In addition, graduate students who facilitate the chemistry labs will be involved in the development of the curriculum and mentoring undergraduates in their research. This provides graduate students with an opportunity that simulates research lab management. The purpose of the discussion is to discuss the implementation and assessment of the project and receive feedback from faculty members. 
  • If you would like to join us, please fill out the form.

March 21, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion 

  • Discussion Leader: Dr. Matteo Broccio, physics and astronomy
  • When: Tuesday, March 21 from 12 – 1 pm 
  • Where: 219 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch, Dr. Matteo Broccio from the physics and astronomy department will discuss the implementation of a project for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. Dr. Broccio is currently incorporating an honors supplement to his Introduction to Physics 1 course. In this honors supplement, physics principles are applied to the human body. Students develop modeling and approximation-making skills and are also be exposed to open scientific questions as opposed to long-established concepts. In the classroom, students work in groups on challenging problems. The material discussed in class crosses disciplinary boundaries, so students may develop greater motivation and a sense of coherence in the curriculum. 
  • If you would like to join us, please fill out the form here.

March 14, 2017: Special dB-SERC workshop

  • Discussion leaders: Dr. Carina Rebello and Dr. Sanjay Rebello, Purdue University
  • Discussion topic: Approaches to infusing argumentation in introductory undergraduate STEM courses
  • When: Tuesday March 14, 2017 from 1:30 - 3:30 pm
  • Where: 9th Floor LRDC
  • Abstract: To positively impact higher education in STEM, conversations are needed on ways to transform curricula that support diverse populations of students. The Engage to Excel, a report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST, 2012), emphasizes the need for evidence-based teaching strategies to improve the STEM pipeline. Recently, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013) have provided guidelines on 21st century STEM workforce skills. NGSS, which is based on Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2012), enumerates core disciplinary ideas, crosscutting concepts, and science and engineering practices for grades K-12. Post-secondary science educators have also begun to realize NGSS’s importance for college science teaching. A recent Science article (Cooper et al., 2015) states that “increasing numbers of students will enter college whose learning has been informed by the Framework”, and that “it would be a disservice to throw these students back into typical introductory [college] courses that focus on memorizing facts and algorithmic calculations.” Scientific argumentation has been highlighted in NGSS as one of the key science and engineering practices. Studies have shown that embedding scientific argumentation in problems can enhance conceptual understanding and problem solving skills. Yet, students are seldom encouraged to justify or explain their solutions or rarely reflect on the appropriateness of their responses and consider alternative solutions. In this workshop we describe how we have integrated argumentation in introductory physics for both pre-service elementary teachers and calculus-based physics. We will discuss the impact on student learning and challenges of implementation. Also we will briefly review literature on alternative frameworks and approaches to infusing argumentation in introductory STEM courses. Attendees will be encouraged to consider ways in which argumentation can be infused in their own classrooms.  They will work in small groups to design problems/scenarios and invent ways to support argumentation in their classrooms.  Participants will also have the opportunity to share their insights about strategies for meaningful inclusion of argumentation in their own classrooms.
  • If you would like to join us (even if only for the first hour), please fill out the form

March 6, 2017: Special dB-SERC Lunch discussion

  • Discussion Leader: Dr. Michelene T.H. Chi, Arizona State University
  • When: Monday, March 6 from 12 – 1 pm 
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch, renowned cognitive scientist Dr. Michelene T.H. Chi will discuss the theme: “ICAP: A Theoretical Framework for Active Learning to Promote Deeper Understanding.” ICAP is a domain-general and parsimonious framework that takes the perspective of the learners, and defines four different ways that students can engage with instruction or instructional materials, often referred to as “active learning.” These four ways of engaging can be approximated by students’ overt behaviors, which can be categorized and differentiated into one of four modes: Interactive or collaborative, Constructive or generative, Active or manipulative, and Passive or attentive. Based on plausible knowledge-change processes corresponding to each mode of behavior, one can predict that learning is best in the Interactive mode, followed next by the Constructive mode, then the Active mode, with the Passive mode fostering the least learning. That is, relative to each other, each mode of engagement achieves a different level of learning, in the hierarchical order I>C>A>P. The ICAP hypothesis can explain the results of hundreds of laboratory and classroom studies in the literature. Dr. Chi will brainstorm with the attendees common instructional techniques that others have used, and predict which ones will be more enhancing for deeper learning. 
  • If you would like to join us, please fill out the form. We hope to see you at this special event!

February 20, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion 

  • Topic: Evaluation of a course transformation involving technology in a guided inquiry chemistry course
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Sean Garrett-Roe, chemistry
  • When: February 20, 2017 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch, Dr. Sean Garrett-Roe from the chemistry department will discuss the assessment of a guided inquiry physical chemistry class for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. Guided inquiry teaching places students at the focus of the learning process. Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) is based on a learning cycle of exploration, concept invention, and application. Students work in groups to explore rich data displays and are guided by a series of questions to construct their own understanding. Typical POGIL materials are worksheets, and paper has proved to be effective for many situations. A problem in the physical chemistry classroom, however, is that many topics are dynamic. Static representations on the page force students to imagine how pictures evolve with time. The goal of the course transformation award is to refine and assess POGIL materials that introduce dynamics using interactive simulations that run on student's mobile computers (smart phone, tablets, and laptops). The purpose of the lunch is to discuss the assessment of the transformation and also to provide feedback about implementation difficulties.
  • If you would like to join us, please fill out the form.

February 13, 2017: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Incorporating authentic learning experiences in advanced lab courses
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Brian D'Urso, physics and astronomy
  • When: Monday February 13, 2017 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • Description: Dr.  Brian D’Urso from the Physics and Astronomy department will discuss the implementation of a project for which he received a dB-SERC Course Transformation Award. Dr. D’Urso is designing labs to include authentic learning experiences to help students develop problem solving, reasoning and higher order thinking skills, and learn to think like a scientist. The purpose of this lunch is to discuss the implementation of the reformed labs and also to provide feedback regarding assessment and potential implementation difficulties.

January 30, 2017: dB-SERC Lunch Discussion

  • Topic: Increasing interactivity and student engagement in a psychology course
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Klaus Libertus, psychology
  • When: Monday January 30, 2017 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • Dr. Klaus Libertus from the Psychology department will discuss the implementation of a project for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. Dr. Libertus has implemented two evidence-based interventions in the course: 1) Online, on-demand review materials; and 2) a writing sequence based on actual research articles. The purpose of the discussion is to discuss the implementation and assessment of the project and receive feedback from faculty members.
  • If you would like to join us, please fill out the form.

January 23, 2017: dB-SERC Lunch discussion

  • Topic: Implementation of inquiry based labs in science courses
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Russell Clark, physics and astronomy
  • When: Monday January 23 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch discussion, Dr. Russell Clark from the physics and astronomy department will discuss the implementation of a project for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. He has been transitioning introductory physics labs from a traditional, “cook book” style format to an inquiry based format in which the students are given more open ended tasks. The purpose of the discussion is to discuss the implementation and assessment of the project and receive feedback from faculty members.
  • If you would like to join us, please fill out the form: here

January 9, 2017: dB-SERC Lunch discussion 

  • Topic: Implementing a comprehensive bank of assessments in statistics courses
  • Discussion leader: Brian Leventhal, education and statistics
  • When: Monday, January 9 from 12-1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch discussion, PhD student Brian Leventhal (education) and Dr. Nancy Pfenning (statistics) will discuss the implementation of a project for which they received a dB-SERC course transformation award. They developed a bank of assessment materials for use in statistics courses that are consistent with the statistics department’s goals for instruction in the courses. These materials will serve as a valuable resource, especially for new instructors. Rationale and assessments of the proposed transformation will be discussed.
  • If you would like to join the discussion, click here to register.