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Very High level overview– creating and sustaining a new science course Science Education Initiatives at University of Colorado and University of British.

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Presentation on theme: "Very High level overview– creating and sustaining a new science course Science Education Initiatives at University of Colorado and University of British."— Presentation transcript:

1 Very High level overview– creating and sustaining a new science course Science Education Initiatives at University of Colorado and University of British Columbia Transformed ~ 200 courses & teaching of faculty members. Staff of ~ 30 science education specialists working in 13 departments. Lots of info on science teaching, curriculum, accountability and oversight, departmental cultures and structures, challenges of transforming courses and sustaining change. The intimate relationship between expertise, learning goals, pedagogy, and course transformation Carl Wieman Department of Physics and Graduate School of Education, Stanford University

2 I.Deciding on the learning that matters II. Importance of pedagogy III. Disciplinary cultures and departmental organizational structures & why they matter IV. Accountability, incentives, and sustainability lots of time for discussion

3 I.What learning matters? content coverage vs. desired/meaningful expertise Discussions always start with topics to cover- what expert in discipline sees first. Good operationalized learning goals/objectives that define needed expertise. Thinking more like a scientist, and what that means in discipline in terms of Students will be able to do …. (Michelle S.) Essential to articulate, but really difficult for faculty. Some comments on expertise and how to learn. Help articulate & link to pedagogy.

4 or ? Expert competence = factual knowledge Mental organizational framework retrieval and application Expertise research* Ability to monitor own thinking and learning New ways of thinking-- everyone requires MANY hours of intense practice to develop. Brain changed *Cambridge Handbook on Expertise and Expert Performance patterns, relationships, scientific concepts, historians, scientists, chess players, doctors,...

5 Learning expertise*-- Challenging but doable tasks/questions Explicitly practice all the elements of expertise with feedback and reflection. * Deliberate Practice, A. Ericsson research accurate, readable summary in Talent is over-rated, by Colvin Subject expertise of instructor essential designing practice tasks (what is expertise, how to practice) feedback/guidance on learner performance why worth learning Wonderful new course– Who can teach it?

6 concepts and mental models + selection criteria recognizing relevant & irrelevant information what information is needed to solve does answer/conclusion make sense- ways to test model development, testing, and use moving between specialized representations (graphs, equations, physical motions, etc.)... Some components of Sci. & Eng. expertise Only make sense in context of topics. Knowledge important but only as integrated part– how to use/make-decisions with that knowledge. Analyze expertise (cognitive task analysis) and use to guide creation of learning goals & assessment per Michelles talk

7 Warning– misalignment of expertise goals and typical HW & exam problems Provide all information needed, and only that information, to solve the problem Say what to neglect Not ask for argument why answer reasonable Only call for use of one representation Possible to solve quickly and easily by plugging into equation/procedure given shortly before concepts and mental models + selection criteria recognizing relevant & irrelevant information what information is needed to solve How I know this conclusion correct (or not) model development, testing, and use moving between specialized representations (graphs, equations, physical motions, etc.)

8 II. Pedagogy why has to be front and center from beginning Discipline-based ed research & cognitive psych-- learning of expertise strongly dependent on pedagogy To be acquired, expertise/cognitive skills must be practiced with timely & specific feedback. Memorizing facts and procedures (routine expertise [nontransferable] relatively insensitive to pedagogy) Importance magnified by standard exams. More useful expertise involves decisions– which facts and procedures useful in novel contexts and why (adaptive expertise)? Requires good pedagogy to practice and learn.

9 Introducing a new course and new pedagogy Likely work best as coherent package, but means additional complications Training and guidance for both faculty & TAs Alignment with other courses Dealing with student expectations (usually reasonable, just have to recognize their perspective and explain rationale and value, not leave feeling like lab rats) Fitting into departmental cultures and structures

10 III. Disciplinary cultures and departmental structures, why they matter Not impossible barriers, but must be recognized and addressed A.Some educationally relevant disciplinary cultures: 1)Physics– curriculum set in steel Have to cover mechanics, electricity and magnetism, quantum, … exact same set of topics in exact order! Only deal with idealized abstract cases in years ) Biology– in upheaval and fragmentation. Struggling to figure out what it means to be a biologist and what a biologist should know. Struggling with many curriculum questions. Worrying about what new MCAT means. math and chem have their own special problems

11 III. B. Important departmental values and organizational structures Who owns the courses? Absolute control by individual faculty? Or departmental learning goals and expectations for what & how courses taught? Courses with multiple departmental parents become orphans. Often end up taught by non-tenure-track faculty, answerable to no one and ignored by everyone. How are teaching assignments made? Destroy years of course development in a minute. Anyone responsible/accountable for what is being taught and how well it is being learned in different courses? Any incentive and authority? Educational priorities & role of Chair. Change completely with new one? Needs of majors trumping needs of larger student population?

12 IV. Accountability, incentives, and sustainability fundamental misalignments for improving education Sustaining change different and more prone to failure than creating change Change done by a champion. Sustainability requires organizational structures, accountability, and funding Most inter- or cross-disciplinary courses, innovative labs, and other things that are not good fit in standard departmental structures eventually wither. Within departments, usually no accountability nor incentive to pay serious attention to curriculum and overall teaching. Always 3 rd or 4 th priority purely reactive. No ongoing assessment of course effectiveness. Student course evaluations-- dominate teaching accountability/incentives. Discourage innovation & good pedagogy. Fac. perceptions discourage change.

13 I.What learning matters? How and who to define--you. Process for approval and acceptance? II. Importance of pedagogy How to design, implement, sustain desired pedagogy? III. Disciplinary cultures and departmental organizational structures, why they matter IV. Accountability, incentives, and sustainability the important questions Sci. Ed. Initiative model for dealing with I. and II.

14 Sci. Ed. Initiative model for establishing new courses and pedagogy* (not claiming is best model, just illustrates some important things needed.) Science education postdocs– Ph.D.s in the discipline, hired into departments, trained in science education learning and teaching, details of implementation. (e.g. S. C., M. S., & R. P. alumni who are here) Work with 1-2 faculty at a time to transform courses and faculty teaching. First priority was pedagogy, often led to content change. Some vital roles they fill: 1)Getting consensus learning goalsshuttle diplomacy, build community. 2)Seek out what already done/known elsewhere. Research lit. 3)Bring knowledge of pedagogy- help design instructional activities 4)Help with initial implementation, anticipate potential problems. 5)Assessment-- before, during (formative), and after transformation. 6)Curate materials and results, including publication. * Carl wieman science educative initiative cwsei.ubc.ca and U. Col. counterpart

15 I.What learning matters? How and who to define (you). Process for approval and acceptance? II. Importance of pedagogy How to design, implement, sustain desired pedagogy? III. Disciplinary cultures and departmental organizational structures, why they matter Cultures- How much compromise on I. and II. will this entail? Process of negotiation? Who and how and when? Org. Structures-What will be the new organization structure? Responsibility and accountability? IV. Accountability, incentives, and sustainability extension of previous question + assessment the important questions lots of time for discussion?


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