University of Connecticut

Events Calendar

Physics Education Seminar

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
2:00pm – 3:00pm

Storrs Campus
Gant Science Complex, Room PB-121

Jacquelyn J. Chini, University of Central Florida

“One Size Fits All? Tailoring Course Transformation for Students and Instructors”

In the Engage to Excel report, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology recommend widespread adoption of empirically validated teaching practices [1]. A recent meta-analysis found that active learning courses consistently outperform lecture courses across STEM disciplines, leading Carl Wieman to call continuing to teach with traditional lecture “the pedagogical equivalent of bloodletting” [2, 3]. Given this empirical and emotional support, why has the course transformation process been so slow? Others, however, raise a voice of skepticism about the “one size fits all” nature of such recommendations. Is every active learning course the same? If an instructional strategy has proven successful for a particular instructor and student population, will it be successful for every instructor and student population? I will present research on the many “players” involved in the transformation process—institutions, faculty, teaching assistants and students—and make the case that we need to carefully study differences across these populations to uncover the nuances of promising instructional strategies, allowing faculty to tailor strategies to their own context.

1. Olson, S., & Riordan, D. G. (2012). Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Report to the President. Executive Office of the President.

2. Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

3. Wieman, C. E. (2014) Large-scale comparison of science teaching methods sends clear message. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Dawn Rawlinson, 486-4916,

Physics Department (primary)

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