Jun 8th 2017

An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching (edX)

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Learn how to implement evidence-based teaching strategies in your university classroom as well as effective methods for assessing teaching and learning. This course is designed to provide future STEM faculty, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows with an introduction to effective teaching strategies and the research that supports them.

The goal of the eight-week course is to equip the next generation of STEM faculty to be effective teachers, thus improving the learning experience for the thousands of students they will teach.

The course draws on the expertise of experienced STEM faculty, educational researchers, and staff from university teaching centers, many of them affiliated with the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), a network of research universities collaborating in the preparation of STEM graduate students and post-docs as future faculty members.

What you'll learn:

- Key learning principles such as the role of mental models in learning and the importance of practice and feedback

- Fundamental elements of course design, including the development of learning objectives and assessments of learning aligned with those objectives

- Teaching strategies for fostering active learning and inclusive classroom environments

Course Syllabus

Week 1 – Principles of Learning, Part 1

We start by exploring a few key learning principles that apply in all teaching contexts such as student’s prior knowledge, mental models and knowledge organization. We’ll consider the research supporting these principles and examples of how STEM faculty put them into practice.

Week 2 – Principles of Learning, Part 2

This week we continue our exploration of learning principles that apply in all teaching contexts. These include, effective ways of providing feedback to students and student motivations for learning. We’ll consider the research supporting these principles and examples of how STEM faculty put them into practice.

Week 3 – Learning Objectives

Designing an effective learning experience for students means beginning with the end in mind. In this week, we will identify ways to craft meaningful learning objectives for one’s students and discuss strategies for incorporating those objectives in your instruction.

Week 4 – Assessment of Learning

Once we have outlined and implemented our learning objectives we must consider the most effective way of assessing those learning objectives. This week we will discuss strategies for designing assessments that will align with your learning goals as well as how student mindset can influence their performance on these assessments.

Week 5 – Active Learning

The module begins with a description of the benefits of active learning and how it fits into the overall learning cycle. Then, the module outlines two key features of active learning, teamwork and critical thinking, by showcasing several manifestations of active learning.

Week 6 – Inclusive Teaching

This week we will discuss the importance of inclusive teaching and many of the issues instructors can face when teaching classes composed of students of varying ethnicities and genders. We provide you with examples of teaching practices and language that can isolate certain student populations along with strategies to avoid these practices.

Week 7 – Lesson Planning

This week you will create an annotated lesson plan for a class you might teach in the future incorporating many of the principles covered in this course.

Week 8 – Conclusion

During the final week of the course, you’ll provide feedback to your peers on their draft lesson plans and, in turn, receive feedback on your lesson plan.

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