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Evidence-Based STEM Teaching: Free Online Courses Launch September 19th

Posted by on Thursday, September 1, 2016 in News.

STEM Teaching

The Center for Teaching, in collaboration with colleagues from several other universities, is offering two free online courses on evidence-based STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teaching this fall. Both courses launch on Monday, September 19th, with course materials available in preview mode on September 15th. If you are a current or future STEM faculty member at Vanderbilt or elsewhere, you are invited to enroll in one or both courses!

“An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching” is an open, online course 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. Topics include learning principles, learning objectives, assessment, active learning, and inclusive teaching. The final peer-graded assignment is an annotated lesson plan in which participants synthesize what they learn in the course. Enroll in “An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching” on edX.

“Advancing Learning through Evidence-Based STEM Teaching” will provide graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the STEM disciplines who are planning college and university faculty careers with an introduction to “teaching as research”—the deliberate, systematic, and reflective use of research methods to develop and implement teaching practices that advance the learning experiences and outcomes of both students and teachers. Participants will learn about effective teaching strategies and the research that supports them, and they will learn how to collect, analyze, and act upon their own evidence of student learning. Topics include teaching as research, learning through diversity, active learning, and the flipped classroom. The final peer-graded assignment asks participants to design a teaching-as-research project they might implement in their own classroom one way. Enroll in “Advancing Learning through Evidence-Based STEM Teaching” on edX.

The courses, which are complementary but not sequential, draw 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. Development of the courses was led by Rique Campa (Michigan State University), Derek Bruff (Vanderbilt University), Bennett Goldberg (Boston University), and Kitch Barnicle and Robert Mathieu (University of Wisconsin-Madison), with support from the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1347605.

For both courses, we are encouraging students to participate in local learning communities. Generally, these communities meet once a week for 60-90 minutes for lively discussions and activities centered around that week’s course material. Local learning communities are asked to share their ideas and perspectives with the global learning community created by the course. Each learning community should have a facilitator who is in contact with the course teaching staff. Facilitators are provided with a detailed facilitator guides, with suggested discussion questions and activities for use during weekly meetings. Facilitators are also invited to share questions and suggestions for the course with the teaching staff. If you’re interested in facilitating a local learning community, please see our facilitators page.

Also, as much as we would love potential participants to enroll in the courses, we have also made most of the learning materials from the courses (including all of the videos) available on our standalone website. We have shared these materials under a Creative Commons license, so feel free to use and adapt them in your own professional development programs for future or current STEM faculty.

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