Ed Prather (University of Arizona)
Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy
College Station, Texas 77843
Whether it is instruction on topics from biology, political science, engineering, economics, mathematics, business or physics, students often struggle to develop a deep understanding of the discipline knowledge and skills we hope they will master in our courses. There is a rich body of research from which to make informed decisions when creating instructional environments designed to elevate student achievement beyond what is typically achieved in the lecture-centered classroom. In addition to, getting a handle on the conceptual and reasoning difficulties held by your students, knowing which instructional materials you wish to employ, and thinking about the assessments you will use to guide your instruction or measure achievement, faculty need to think carefully about their complex classroom environment (and student population) which presents its own unique issues.
In this talk I will share some research results, model several instructional strategies, discuss ways this work is forging a new instructional-model for surviving in extreme learning environments (such as teaching the universe in one semester to 1000 students at a time), and frame how this work provides a vehicle for changing scientific, economic and mathematical literacy across the nation.
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