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News and Events 2018

dB-SERC News


2017-2018 dB-SERC Leadership Awards

13 dB-SERC members have been recognized for their leadership, contributions, and active engagement with our learning community. For more details, check out the article in the University Times.


Physics of Science Fiction

dB-SERC community member Dr Melanie Good (Physics) was profiled in the University Times for her unique class, the Physics of Science Fiction. Click here to read the article.


2018 dB-SERC Award Winners

The recipients of 9 major dB-SERC awards this year have been featured in the University Times this week. Congratulations!


CONGRATULATIONS 

  • to the recipients of dB-SERC course transformation awards for the 2018-2019 academic year. Ten faculty members and one postdoctoral student received awards to transform courses in biological sciences, physics, psychology, statistics, chemistry, and mathematics.
  • Read about the awards here

Accolades

  • Dr. Ben Rottman, psychology and LRDC research scientist, was awarded an NSF CAREER award. Dr. Rottman is a member of the dB-SERC faculty learning community and was awarded a dB-SERC course transformation award focused on helping students learn about causality in his research methods course.

                                                      

PUBLICATIONS

  • Drs. Ericka Huston, George Bandik, Jackie Powell, and others recently published a paper in the Journal of Chemical Education focused on the development of their chemistry safety course, for which they received a dB-SERC course transformation award. 
  • You can read the article here
  • Congratulations to the authors!

University Times Newsmakers

                     

  • Dr. Lillian Chong, faculty member in chemistry and member of the dB-SERC faculty learning community, leads a project to help undergraduate students learn how to communicate scientific research findings through creative nonfiction, journalism, and poetry. 
  • Read about it here!

Accolades

                                                                       

  • Dr. Russell Clark, senior lecturer in the physics and astronomy department and member of the dB-SERC faculty learning community, was awarded the Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising. Dr. Clark is advisor to all undergraduate physics and astronomy major and is responsible for training graduate teaching assistants for lab courses. 
  • Read about it here!

CONGRATULATIONS

                                                                             

  • to Alan Sved, faculty member in the neuroscience department, for receiving the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award! Dr. Sved is a member of the dB-SERC faculty learning community. 
  • Read about the award here.

REMINDER: Applications for dB-SERC course transformation awards are due January 31!

  • Click here for more info about course transformation awards
  • Click here for more detailed info about applying for the award
  • Email the associate director of dB-SERC Emily Marshman at dbserc@pitt.edu if you would like to discuss your ideas for a course transformation

Pittsburgh Post Gazette News

  • Dr. Russell Clark, physics and astronomy department and dB-SERC course transformation award winner, is featured in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette for his project with physics majors involving the Eclipse 2017. 

ACCOLADES

  • Congratulations to Dr. Chandralekha Singh, director of dB-SERC, for being named an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow. Read about it here.

  • Congratulations to Dr. Daniel Lambrecht, faculty member in the chemistry department and dB-SERC course transformation awardee, for winning the winner of the American Chemical Society OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in Computational Chemistry. Read about it here

  • Dr. Lillian Chong, faculty member in the chemistry department and member of the dB-SERC faculty learning community, has has created the Creative Science Summer Writing Program for Undergraduates. Read about it here

POSTER SESSION AT PITT'S ANNUAL ASSESSMENT CONFERENCE

  • The University of Pittsburgh’s annual assessment conference will be held on Friday, January 26, 2018 at the University Club.
  • The conference will include a poster session at the end of the day.
  • We invite dB-SERC course transformation award winners to submit a proposal for the poster session that focuses on your course transformation and its outcomes. This is a wonderful opportunity for faculty to showcase their own work and learn from each other!
  • Submissions for the poster session are due by December 8. To submit a proposal, please fill out the Call for Posters form at http://tiny.cc/Posters2018.
  • If you present your poster at this conference, dB-SERC will also be happy to provide funding (up to $1,000) for you to present your course transformation at a conference outside of the University of Pittsburgh.
  • If you have any further questions, please email the dB-SERC associate director Emily Marshman @ dbserc@pitt.edu.  

dB-SERC REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

  • dB-SERC is accepting applications for course transformation awards
    • Click here for more info about course transformation awards
    • Click here for more detailed info about applying for the award
    • Applications due January 31, 2018
  • dB-SERC is accepting applications for mentor-mentee awards
    • Click here for more info about mentor-mentee awards
    • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis (no deadline)
  • ​dB-SERC is accepting applications for travel awards
    • Click here for more info about travel awards for faculty
    • Ciick here for more info about travel awards for students
    • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis (no deadline)


 

dB-SERC Events

November 27, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Transforming "Introduction to Physics 2" into a flipped classroom course
  • When: Tuesday, November 27 from 12 - 1 pm (Note: different day)
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • Who: Dr Matteo Broccio

The next dB-SERC lunch discussion will take place on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 from 12 – 1 pm in 321 Allen Hall. During the lunch, Dr Matteo Broccio will lead a discussion about the transformation of "Introduction to Physics 2" from a traditional lecture-based course to a flipped course, for which he received a dB-SERC Course Transformation Award. The purpose of the lunch discussion is to provide feedback on the project and to encourage an interchange of ideas. We hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the lunch discussion


November 19, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion
(note: postponed from November 5)

  • Topic: Productive Struggle
  • When: Monday, November 19 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • Who: Dr Bilge Yurekli

The next dB-SERC lunch discussion will take place on Monday, November 19, 2018 from 12 – 1 pm in 321 Allen Hall. During the lunch, Dr Bilge Yurekli lead a discussion about the importance of productive struggle for student learning.

Effective teaching of mathematics requires engaging students in struggle with important mathematics. Although struggle has been the focus of both mathematics educators and cognitive scientists, it has been treated in different ways by these two groups. This talk will overview the instructional designs proposed by mathematics education and cognitive science researchers, identifying the contributions of each in understanding what makes struggle productive. Despite its focus on mathematics, this talk will introduce key instructional practices to promote productive struggle which can be applied to other disciplines in order to help students develop conceptual understanding.

Click here to register for the lunch discussion


November 14, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Second Opinion
  • When: Wednesday, November 14 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • Who: Dr Nancy Pfenning

During the lunch discussion, Dr Nancy Pfenning from the department of statistics will discuss the development of an exciting new University Honors Course, “Second Opinion: Diagnoses in Literature and the Literature.” The purpose of the lunch discussion is to provide feedback on the project and to encourage an interchange of ideas. ​

Click here to register for the lunch discussion


October 24, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic:How Discipline-Based Education Research Informs STEM Teaching and Learning
  • When: Wednesday, October 24 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • Who: Dean Zollman (Center for Research and Innovation in STEM Education & Department of Physics, Kansas State University)

    “While a few physicists may be naturally talented teachers who can reach a broad spectrum of students using instinct alone, most physics faculty can improve their teaching just as they improve other scholarly efforts, by incorporating practices based on scientific evidence.” While this statement appears in a National Academy report on physics education (http://sites.nationalacademies.org/bpa/bpa_059078), it can apply to all disciplines. In the past 20-30 years, research on teaching and learning of various disciplines has provided a large amount of data about effective (and not-so-effective) teaching methods. These data can provide guidance for our teaching. At the same time, teaching and learning are very complex activities, involving many variables. Thus, one size does not fit all. Nevertheless, we can gain insights to appropriate approaches to our teaching from the research. In this talk, I will provide a view of some research that has guided me during my teaching career

Click here to register for the lunch discussion

October 25, 2018: dB-SERC lunch workshop

  • Topic: Increasing Interactivity in STEM Classrooms
  • When: Thursday, October 25 from 11 - 1 pm
  • Where: O'Hara Student Center
  • Who: Dean Zollman (Center for Research and Innovation in STEM Education & Department of Physics, Kansas State University)

    While discipline based education research has provided evidence for many different ways to increase the effectiveness of our students’ learning, one particular finding permeates almost all of the results. Students need to be involved actively in the learning process. While this statement seems simple, in practice it can be difficult to implement, particularly in large classes, in rooms with fixed seats, or with students who expect you to lecture. Sometimes, we cannot implement a fully interactive class, but frequently we can find some way to increase the level of student involvement. We will look at a couple of situations and try to devise some way to increase the interactivity. If you have a particular situation that you would like to investigate, please send me, in advance, information about the class, the subject matter and anything else that you think is relevant

Click here to register for the lunch discussion


October 16, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Useful considerations for making effective multiple-choice assessment
  • When: Tuesday, October 16 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • Who: Chandralekha Singh, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh

Multiple-choice questions are commonly used by instructors in a variety of STEM courses. During this lunch, we will discuss strategies for making high-quality multiple-choice questions. If possible, please bring a couple of examples of multiple-choice questions you have used or are planning to use in your classes. It will be useful if you can think about why you decided to use those multiple-choice questions ahead of time.

Click here to register for the lunch discussion


October 8, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Discussion Leaders: Dr Kirill Kiselyov
  • Topic: Storytelling in cell biology: Vertically integrating a very complicated class
  • When: Monday, October 8 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall

The next dB-SERC lunch discussion will take place on Monday, October 8, 2018 from 12 – 1 pm in 321 Allen Hall. During the lunch, Dr. Kiselyov will describe a new project, “Storytelling in cell biology: Vertically integrating a very complicated class,” for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation for the 2018-2019 academic year. The purpose of the lunch discussion is to provide feedback on the project and to encourage an interchange of ideas. We hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the lunch discussion


October 1, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Students in Cognitive Development Learn to Apply Knowledge and Communicate Effectively through Blog Posts for Parents

  • When: Monday, October 1 from 12 - 1 pm

  • Where: 321 Allen Hall

  • Who: Dr Melissa Libertus and Emily Braham

The next dB-SERC lunch discussion will take place on Monday, October 1, 2018 from 12 – 1 pm in 321 Allen Hall. During the lunch, Dr. Melissa Libertus and graduate student Emily Braham from the Department of Psychology and the Learning Research and Development Center will share the results of their project, “Students in Cognitive Development Learn to Apply Knowledge and Communicate Effectively through Blog Posts for Parents,” for which they received a dB-SERC Mentor-Mentee Award. The purpose of the lunch discussion is to learn about the project and encourage an interchange of ideas. 

Click here to register for the lunch discussion


September 24, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Discussion Leaders: Dr Erica McGreevy (presenting work done in collaboration with Dr Kathryn Gardner and Dr Nancy Kaufmann)
  • Topic: Repeating students in BIOSC0150
  • When: Monday, September 24 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall

The next dB-SERC lunch discussion will take place on Monday, September 24, 2018 from 12 – 1 pm in 321 Allen Hall. During the lunch discussion, Dr Erica McGreevy will share their efforts to increase the pass rate of biology 1-repeating students and increase student persistence in STEM. 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!

Click here to register for the lunch discussion


September 17, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • ​Topic:  Development of a TA Training Program for Introductory Physics Labs
  • When: Monday, September 17 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall

During the lunch discussion, Dr Russell Clark from the physics department will discuss his project, “Development of a TA Training Program for Introductory Physics Labs,” for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. 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. 

Click here to register for the lunch discussion


September 12, 2018: dB-SERC lunch workshop

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Eric Kuo
  • Topic:  Possibilities and challenges for teacher-student interactions in the classroom
  • When: Wednesday September 12 from 12 - 2 pm (NOTE DIFFERENT DAY; TWO HOURS)
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall

The next dB-SERC workshop will take place on Wednesday September 12, 2018 from 12 – 2 pm in 321 Allen Hall. During the lunch discussion,  Dr Eric Kuo will discuss teacher-student interactions in the classroom. How teachers can support students’ real-time discussion, problem-solving, and disciplinary thinking in the classroom is a major question of university teaching. Yet, although many curricular and instructional materials and technologies have been developed and disseminated, there is comparatively little guidance for the university teacher on how to engage students around these materials. This video workshop will provide a space for teachers to develop their thinking on how their interactions with students impact thinking and learning in the classroom. The main activity will be analysis and discussion of a few video episodes of student-teacher interactions from university STEM classrooms. We’ll close by discussing some guidance suggested by the education research literature and extending the discussion to teacher-student interactions that attendees will bring from their own teaching experience.

One piece of preparation for attendees: You should think of a teacher-student interaction scenario from your own teaching that you find particularly challenging. There will be time at the end of the workshop for attendees to extend the discussion back to your own classroom. You could bring a particular “unsatisfying” interaction from your own teaching that continues to bug you. Alternatively, you could bring an activity that continues to present an interactional challenge for you in the classroom. The idea is apply the discussion to something meaningful in your own teaching.

Click here to register for the lunch discussion.


September 5, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Bryan Nelson, statistics
  • Topic:  Creating a Comprehensive Bank of Materials for Use in Statistics and Probability for Business Management
  • When: Wednesday September 5 from 12 - 1 pm (NOTE DIFFERENT DAY)
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch discussion, Dr Bryan Nelson from the statistics department will discuss his project “Creating a Comprehensive Bank of Materials for Use in Statistics and Probability for Business Management” for which he and Dr Nancy Pfenning received a dB-SERC course transformation award. They undertook a transformation of materials in Stat 1100 to consolidate and enhance existing materials in order to ensure fair and appropriate content for all instructors, especially those who are newly hired. This includes surveying instructors, developing and sharing instructional and assessment materials, and monitoring final grade distributions. The purpose of the lunch discussion is to provide feedback on the project and encourage an interchange of ideas. Click here to register for the lunch discussion.

August 20, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Jennifer Ganger, psychology
  • When: Monday August 20, 2018 from 12 - 1 pm 
  • Where: 9th FLoor LRDC
  • During the lunch, Dr. Jennifer Ganger from the psychology department will discuss her course transformation “The effect of in-class activities and web-based homework on exam performance in a large-enrollment, lecture-based course,” for which she received a course transformation award. Research shows that deeper engagement with material increases learning, as does more frequent contact with material, particularly when that contact forces recall in the form of test-like questions. Dr. Ganger is taking these learning principles into account in her large enrollment developmental psychology course by adding in-class activities to increase depth of processing and twice-weekly, web-based, multiple choice homework assignments to increase exposure to course material and provide opportunities to recall it. She will assess the efficacy of these changes and further modify them based upon in-class evaluations.The purpose of the lunch discussion is to provide feedback on the project and encourage an interchange of ideas. 

August 6, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Armin Schikorra, mathematics
  • When: Monday August 6, 2018 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • Dr. Armin Schikorra from the mathematics department will discuss his course transformation: “Aligning teaching methods and students’ learning needs: Active learning vs. traditional classrooms.” Most students in science and engineering programs start their university career by enrolling in the calculus sequence.  In addition, the student body of the University of Pittsburgh is heterogeneous: students come to the university with a wide array of learning needs, from different cultural backgrounds, and from different educational systems. Dr. Schikorra plans to personalize calculus education by tailoring the educational approach to the individual traits, needs, and levels of each student. He is developing a group-work and active-learning based Calculus I course, and he will investigate what kinds of students thrive in which teaching environment. The goal is to offer a variety of Calculus courses which have consistent learning goals yet allow for different teaching approaches while making reliable recommendations to new students which teaching methods would suit them best.

July 23, 2018: dB-SERC 5-year luncheon celebration

  • The Discipline-Based Science Education Research Center (dB-SERC) has strived to improve teaching and learning using evidence-based approaches in the natural sciences departments in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences over the past FIVE years.

  • Please click here to view the presentations of some of the dB-SERC course transformation and mentor-mentee awardees from this special event.

July 16, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Michelle Ward, chemistry
  • When: Monday July 16, 2018 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • Dr. Michelle Ward from the chemistry department will discuss her project “Utilizing technology to advance engagement and availability in large lecture general chemistry courses,” for which she received a dB-SERC course transformation award. Although instructors offer office hours, some students have a packed schedule where it is in the evening hours that they really have the opportunity to focus on working on the course material – and even the most dedicated professors do not have the ability to be in the office from early morning through late evening. With the right technology platform, professors can improve student engagement and instructor availability. Dr. Ward will integrate the platform “Shindig” in her general chemistry courses. Shindig allows for a multitude of features ranging from applications in scheduled virtual review sessions and office hours in evenings, breaking students up into groups to work on problems then come back to the “class” to report and/or ask questions, posting recordings of sessions that students could not attend, and one-on-one instructor-student and student-student interactions. This platform also provides tracking student involvement, which could be compared to performance, providing a means of assessment to support and enlighten faculty looking to incorporate innovative means of engaging students in large lecture courses. 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.
  • If you plan to attend, please register here.

July 9, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Candice Damiani, biological sciences
  • When: Monday July 9, 2018 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch discussion, Dr. Candice Damiani from the biological sciences department will discuss her project “Using TopHat to personalize student learning and expand the scientific skillset in a large biological science classroom” for which she received a dB-SERC course transformation award. Personalized learning is rarely attained in large, introductory biological science courses. Although this is often an environment where personalized learning is most needed due to the diverse student population, the size of the course, the logistics of providing individualized content and assessment, and the grading demands make personalized learning difficult to achieve. Dr. Damiani will incorporate personalized learning in a large enrollment biology course through the use of TopHat, an in-class, online learning platform. TopHat will allow for personalized student skill assessment and skill building as it allows for secure, digital tests that students can take on their own devices during class. The professor will be able to identify each student’s strengths and weaknesses and homework assignments will be created via TopHat that focus on enhancing students’ scientific skills. The purpose of the lunch discussion is to provide feedback on the project and encourage an interchange of ideas. 
  • To register for the lunch, click here. 

June 27, 2018: dB-SERC lunch workshop

  • Discussion leader: Tim Nokes-Malach, psychology & LRDC
  • When: Wednesday June 27, 2018 from 12 - 2 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • Abstract: The cognitive and learning sciences have made much progress uncovering principles of robust learning such as self-explanation, analogical comparison, and memory-retrieval practice. Furthermore, some of these learning activities can promote positive motivational states. Research on instruction has shown that these cognitive processes can be facilitated and scaffolded through a number of instructional techniques including: prompting comparisons across cases that demonstrate the same concepts in different contexts, prompting self-explanations of worked out examples or expository text, engaging students in productive inquiry or invention tasks, and repeated testing or questioning. In this workshop, we will discuss how to incorporate these techniques in the classroom and participants will have opportunities to adapt the techniques for use in their own courses. Suggestions and feedback on the techniques chosen during the workshop will be provided from the workshop leader and other participants. 

June 11, 2018: dB-SERC lunch workshop

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Kevin Binning, psychology & LRDC
  • When: Monday June 11 from 12 - 2 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • Abstract: Instructors often focus on content and pedagogical approaches to improve student engagement and learning in their courses. However, students’ motivational characteristics can also play an important role in their engagement and success in a particular course. For example, students’ sense of belonging, their self-efficacy, and views about whether intelligence is “fixed” or “malleable” can affect engagement and learning. In this workshop, we will discuss prior research studies that show how different types of social psychological interventions (e.g., social belonging and growth mindset) have improved the motivation and learning of all students, especially women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. We will also describe and have participants reflect upon social belonging and growth mindset interventions that have been incorporated in introductory biology and physics courses and initial findings from the interventions. The participants will also have the opportunity to adapt one of the interventions for use in their own courses in small groups and act out the intervention with the workshop participants in other groups acting as students. Suggestions and feedback on the interventions chosen and acted out during the workshop will be provided from workshop leaders and other participants.  
  • If you plan to attend, please fill out the form.

 

May 29, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Kirill Kiselyov, biological sciences
  • When: Tuesday May 29 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch discussion, Dr. Kirill Kiselyov from the biological sciences department will discuss the assessment of his projects “Peer Reviewed Presentation Exchange (PEREPEX) – A platform for peer-reviewed presentations in cell biology” and “Learning from hierarchical templates” in his cell biology course, for which he received dB-SERC course transformation awards. Dr. Kiselyov will also describe a new project, “Storytelling in cell biology: Vertically integrating a very complicated class,” for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation for the 2018-2019 academic year.
  • If you would like to attend, register here

May 14, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Daniel Lambrecht, chemistry
  • When: Monday, May 14 from 12 – 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch discussion, Dr. Daniel Lambrecht from the chemistry department will discuss the outcomes of a project for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. He transformed mathematics education for chemistry majors by developing and implementing guided inquiry learning activities around chemistry-specific applications of mathematics. The purpose of the lunch discussion is to discuss the assessment and outcomes of the project and encourage an interchange of ideas. We hope to see you there. If you would like to attend, please register here

May 3, 2018: dB-SERC Faculty Retreat

  • Date: Thursday, May 3rd 2018
  • Place: 9th floor, LRDC
  • Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm (continental breakfast from 8:45 am - 9:00 am, lunch from 11:00 am - 12:00 pm)
  • The purpose of this retreat is for faculty from each department to reflect on how learning goals, instructional design, and assessment are aligned to improve learning in foundational STEM courses. Faculty will discuss how 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 effectively align learning goals, instructional design, and assessments in STEM courses.

April 9, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Russell Clark, physics
  • When: Monday, April 9 from 12 – 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch discussion, Dr. Russell Clark from the physics and astronomy department will discuss the outcomes 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 assessment and outcomes of the project and receive feedback from faculty members.

March 26, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Kevin Binning, psychology
  • When: Monday, March 26 from 12 – 1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch discussion, Dr. Kevin Binning from the psychology department will discuss the implementation and preliminary outcomes of a social-belonging intervention in physics. This project seeks to transform how female students experience an undergraduate physics course for physical scientists and engineers. The course transformation involves developing and implementing a classroom-based small-group social-belonging intervention tailored to address the stereotypes and belonging concerns held by many female physics students. The intervention has the potential to improve the immediate and long-term outcomes for female physics students, and the results may lead to the widespread adoption of social belonging interventions in college STEM classrooms to address current and historical gender disparities. If you would like to attend, please sign up here.

March 19, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Dave Nero, physics and astronomy
  • When: Monday March 19, 2018 from 12 - 1 pm 
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the discussion, Dr. David Nero from the physics and astronomy department will discuss the implementation of his 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 created a “virtual lab” to be hosted at the PEC. He designed 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 improved 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. 
  • To sign up for the lunch, please click here

March 13, 2018: dB-SERC workshop

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Zhongzhou Chen, University of Central Florida
  • When: Tuesday March 13, 2018 from 12 - 2 pm 
  • Where: 9th floor LRDC
  • Title:  How will online learning change the future of STEM courses?
  • Abstract: The concept of “courses” has not changed much over centuries. However, online learning technology is quickly starting to challenge our understanding of what it means by a “course”.  The abundance of online learning resources challenges the role of courses being the disseminators of knowledge, while the high registration numbers and low finishing numbers of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) challenges not only the necessity to “pass” a course, but also the optimum length and scope of a course. Given the fact that more than 70% of today’s undergraduate students are non-traditional in one way or another, it might be a good time to think about how online learning technology might help to evolve the structure of courses to accommodate an increasingly diverse student population. In this workshop, I will initiate the discussion of “what might a future STEM course look like”, by introducing three relatively old ideas: mastery-based learning, flipped or blended classroom, and modularized instructional design. I will talk about how those ideas, when combined with the latest online learning technologies, might re-shape how students take a course, how teachers teach a course, and how instructors create a course, especially for STEM disciplines. We will also brainstorm about what STEM instructors can do to embrace the possible changes ahead.
  • Bio: Dr. Zhongzhou Chen (Chen) is an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in 2012, specializing in physics education and multimedia learning. In 2013 he joined the RELATE group at MIT as a postdoc, conducting educational research in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on the edX platform, mentored by Prof. David Pritchard.

February 28, 2018 (Wednesday): dB-SERC lunch discussion 

  • Topic: Assessing outcomes of an interdisciplinary laboratory curriculum in chemistry and biology
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Kitty Liu (chemistry)
  • When: Monday February 26, 2018
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • Description: During the lunch, Dr. Kitty Liu from the chemistry department will discuss the outcomes of a project for which she received a dB-SERC course transformation award. She implemented 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 assessment and outcomes of the project and receive feedback from faculty members. If you would like to join us, please fill out the form. We look forward to seeing you there. 

February 12, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Lucas Mentch, statistics
  • When: Monday February 12 from 12 - 1 pm 
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • During the lunch discussion, Dr. Lucas Mentch from the statistics department will discuss the implementation of a new course “Statistical Learning and Data Science” for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. The course introduces 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 and implementation of the course encourage an interchange of ideas. 

February 2, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Sungkyu Jung, statistics
  • When: Friday, February 2, 2018 from 12 - 1 pm
  • Where: 9th floor LRDC
  • During the lunch, Dr. Sungkyu Jung from the department of statistics will discuss the implementation of a data science course for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. In the course, students 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 plays 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. 

January 22, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Discussion leader: Dr. Kirill Kiselyov, biological sciences
  • When: Monday January 22, 2018 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 has been 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 implementation of the project and encourage an interchange of ideas. 

January 17, 2018: dB-SERC lunch discussion

  • Topic: Reflection on a course transformation in a Psychology Research Methods Laboratory Course
  • Discussion leader: Dr. Klaus Libertus (psychology)
  • When: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 from 12-1 pm
  • Where: 321 Allen Hall
  • Description: During the lunch, Dr. Klaus Libertus from the Psychology department will reflect on a project for which he received a dB-SERC course transformation award. Dr. Libertus implemented two evidence-based interventions in his Research Methods Laboratory in psychology: 1) Online, on-demand review materials; and 2) a writing sequence based on actual research articles. 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. Please sign up if you plan to attend this lunch discussion.