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Teaching-as-Research Fellows: Encouraging Scientific Teaching

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Slides for a session at the AAC&U / Project Kaleidoscope conference "Engaged STEM Learning: From Promising to Pervasive Practices," March 2011

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Teaching-as-Research Fellows: Encouraging Scientific Teaching

  1. 1. Teaching-as-Research Fellows: Encouraging Scientific Teaching<br />Derek Bruff & Lily Claiborne<br />Vanderbilt University<br />
  2. 2. Agenda<br />Introduction<br />Lily’s Experience<br />More on the Program<br />Q&A<br />Key Ingredients<br />Wrap-Up<br />
  3. 3. Introduction<br />
  4. 4. Teaching-as-Research (TAR)<br />“The deliberate, systematic, and reflective use of research methods by STEM instructors to develop and implement teaching practices that advance the learning experiences and outcomes of students”<br />– CIRTL Network<br />
  5. 5. Challenges<br />What challenges do you see in moving teaching-as-research / scientific teaching from a promising to a pervasive practice?<br />Especially at research universities?<br />
  6. 6. The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning<br />Howard University<br />Michigan State University<br />Texas A&M University<br />University of Colorado-Boulder<br />University of Wisconsin-Madison<br />Vanderbilt University<br />
  7. 7. TAR Fellows Program – The Basics<br />5-8 STEM grad students each year<br />Faculty hosts / mentors<br />$3000 “topping up” awards<br />Orientation, working group<br />One-credit-hour grad-level course<br />Poster session<br />http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/tar<br />
  8. 8. Lily’s Experience<br />
  9. 9. A TAR PROJECTMaking complex concepts accessible through hands-on analogs<br />An example teaching Radioactive Decay & Dating<br />
  10. 10. Earth & Environmental Sciences<br />
  11. 11. Parent Isotope<br />Decay<br />Daughter<br />Isotope<br />
  12. 12. Why did I do a TAR project?<br /><ul><li>Make lesson more effective
  13. 13. Introduce me to education literature & community</li></ul>$<br />
  14. 14. Questions<br />Can students learn complex, non-intuitive scientific concepts better when they can work hands-on with an analog experiment than through traditional lecture?<br />Can they appropriately transfer the things they learn from the analog experiment to the original concept?<br />
  15. 15. TAR Working Group<br /><ul><li>Bounce ideas around
  16. 16. Tackle issues together
  17. 17. Access to variety of educational expertise & experiences
  18. 18. Made me accountable/deadlines
  19. 19. Became a learning community</li></li></ul><li>Study Design<br />All Students in Intro Geology (~100)<br />Students attend traditional lecture on topic<br />POST-TEST<br />PRE-TEST<br />
  20. 20. Learning Goals<br /><ul><li>What controls radioactive decay?
  21. 21. How do we use radioactive decay for dating?
  22. 22. Make Predictions about decay/dating
  23. 23. Understand (and use) the decay equation</li></ul>Learning Goals<br />
  24. 24. Parent Isotope<br />Decay<br />Daughter<br />Isotope<br />
  25. 25. Results<br />
  26. 26. Results<br />
  27. 27. Results<br />Student Comments & Questions<br />“It slows down as it goes, so as there is less parent, there is less decay.”<br />“The larger the decay constant or the more parent material, the faster it decays!”<br />“If the decay constant depends on what the parent material is, does that mean different kinds of parent isotopes decay at different rates?”<br />“So, if you started running out of parent material, would it decay sporadically, like the shampoo starts to slowly drip at the end?”<br />
  28. 28. Conclusions<br />Can they appropriately transfer the things they learn from the analog experiment to the original concept?<br />Can students learn complex, non-intuitive scientific concepts better when they can work hands-on with an analog experiment than through traditional lecture?<br />YES – there was only one student who talked about shampoo instead of isotopes on the post test<br />YES – improved understanding and confidence<br />Second Semester<br />
  29. 29. Conclusions<br />Problems:<br /><ul><li>Misconceptions
  30. 30. Resistance to think past the specific conditions covered in the activity
  31. 31. Unclear questions on pre/post test</li></ul>Second Semester<br /><ul><li>Repeated study in all 101 lab sections
  32. 32. Revised questions for clarity
  33. 33. Had students explore variations on the basic system, then ask them to think of others on the post test
  34. 34. Addressed misconceptions revealed last semester</li></li></ul><li>External Outcomes<br /><ul><li>Denison University
  35. 35. San Jose State University</li></li></ul><li>Personal Outcomes<br />Professional Development<br />Community<br />Scholarship of Teaching & Learning<br />COMMUNITY<br />How to assess student learning<br />Working Group<br />Confidence to experiment<br />Center for Teaching<br />Literature on T & L<br />How to assess my teaching<br />
  36. 36. Why did TAR work for me?<br />
  37. 37. More on the Program<br />
  38. 38. Origins<br />
  39. 39. Goals<br />
  40. 40. Participants<br />2008 – 8 Fellows<br />2009 – 7 Fellows<br />2010 – 5 Fellows<br />Male – 10<br />Female – 10 <br />Presentations – 4<br />Publications – 2 <br />Disciplines<br />Biomedical Eng. (4)<br />Mechanical Eng. (4)<br />Earth & Env. Sciences (3)<br />Astronomy (2)<br />Mathematics (2)<br />Computer Science (2)<br />Biological Sciences (1)<br />Electrical Engineering (1)<br />
  41. 41. A Few Projects<br />Getting a Feel for Dynamic Systems through Haptic Robots (Caleb Rucker & Jenna Toennies)<br />Enhancing Astronomy Education through Cross-Age Student Tutoring (Erika Grundstrom)<br />Implementing and Assessing a Challenge-Based Module for Spectroscopy in a Biomedical Optics Class (Elizabeth Vargis)<br />Evaluating the Effectiveness of Clickers in a Biology Lab (Brian Robertson)<br />
  42. 42. Assessment<br />Lessons learned?<br />There is a connection between research and teaching, and this means you can get data to prove effectiveness.<br />Teaching can be planned, structured, researched, self-monitored, and improved.<br />There are many different and effective ways to teach besides lecture.<br />
  43. 43.
  44. 44.
  45. 45.
  46. 46. Questions?<br />
  47. 47. Key Ingredients<br />
  48. 48. Questions<br />Which of these ingredients would be most important on your campus? Why?<br />Which of these ingredients could be accessed on your campus?<br />For those ingredients not available on your campus, what other ingredients might you substitute?<br />
  49. 49. Wrap-Up<br />
  50. 50. CIRTL Network Expansion<br />From 6 to 25 major research universities<br />Letters of intent due:April 22nd<br />Application deadline:May 27th<br />More info: www.cirtl.net/expansion<br />
  51. 51. Derek Bruff<br />derek.bruff@vanderbilt.eduLily Claiborne<br />lilyclaiborne@gmail.comhttp://cft.vanderbilt.edu/tar<br />Flickr Photo Credits<br /><ul><li>“Paraguay,” NASA Goddard
  52. 52. “Darts,” BogdanSuditu
  53. 53. “Questions,” Oberazzi
  54. 54. “Ratatouille,” Ross Spoon</li>

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