Teaching Gateway Courses Institute
Monday, May 9
8:30 am - 3:00 pm
Part I: Increasing Achievement and Retention in STEM Courses (Without
Key findings from the scholarship of teaching and learning show that (and why) standard STEM teaching is often ineffective even when the students are working reasonably hard. Moreover, alternative approaches can lead to large increases in student success (for instance, a drop in the D, F, and W rate for African Americans from 60% to 4% without lowering standards). Specific topics in this session will include:
• How can I radically reduce low grades in STEM lecture courses without lowering standards?
• How can I make my students brighter and harder working using only 1 hour of class time?
• What about STEM misconceptions?--How can I effectively address them?
• What is a learning cycle? Why should I use it?
• But what about covering the material--Can I change and still teach what they need?
• How do many commonly used STEM teaching techniques unnecessarily disadvantage many non-traditional students (first-generation, rural, inner-city, etc.)? How can we make our courses fairer without lowering standards? Participants will be asked to consider and discuss how these approaches might apply in their own courses. NOTE: This session will address key aspects relevant to STEM “GATEKEEPER” courses, will be broadly applicable to all undergraduate STEM courses, and will provide important background for the afternoon session.
Part II (including working lunch): Fostering Critical Thinking & Other Higher-Level Outcomes
Critical thinking, effective communication and other higher-level skills are much-desired outcomes of STEM majors. These are quite important for success in professional school, graduate school, and careers--but they are rarely achieved by standard STEM courses and curricula. We will look at ways to improve our success. Many of the specifics will be drawn from my experience teaching biology. These will be framed in ways and with exercises that will make them broadly applicable to other disciplines as well.
Bridging the Valley Project