Improving Undergraduate Instruction in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics: Report of a Workshop

Front Cover

Participants in this workshop were asked to explore three related questions: (1) how to create measures of undergraduate learning in STEM courses; (2) how such measures might be organized into a framework of criteria and benchmarks to assess instruction; and (3) how such a framework might be used at the institutional level to assess STEM courses and curricula to promote ongoing improvements. The following issues were highlighted:

  • Effective science instruction identifies explicit, measurable learning objectives.
  • Effective teaching assists students in reconciling their incomplete or erroneous preconceptions with new knowledge.
  • Instruction that is limited to passive delivery of information requiring memorization of lecture and text contents is likely to be unsuccessful in eliciting desired learning outcomes.
  • Models of effective instruction that promote conceptual understanding in students and the ability of the learner to apply knowledge in new situations are available.
  • Institutions need better assessment tools for evaluating course design and effective instruction.
  • Deans and department chairs often fail to recognize measures they have at their disposal to enhance incentives for improving education.
  • Much is still to be learned from research into how to improve instruction in ways that enhance student learning.
 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
2 Identifying Desired Student Learning Outcomes
10
3 Evaluating Effective Instruction
25
4 Promoting Effective Instruction at Departmental and Institutional Levels
50
5 General Discussion
69
6 Epilogue
78
References
82
A Commissioned Papers
87
B Reference Paper
127
C Workshop Agenda
140
D Workshop Participants
144
E Biographical Sketches of Workshop Attendees
148
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