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Taking a scientific approach to teaching science and engineering

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: East Bridge 201
Carl Wieman, Department of Physics, Stanford University

Guided by experimental tests of theory and practice, science has advanced rapidly in the past 500 years. Guided primarily by tradition and dogma, science education meanwhile has remained largely medieval. Research on how people learn is now revealing much more effective ways to teach and evaluate complex thinking and learning than what is in use in the traditional science or engineering class. Students and instructors find such innovative research-based teaching more rewarding, because they involve the disciplinary expertise of the instructor much more extensively and transfer that expertise more effectively. This research is setting the stage for a new approach to teaching and learning that can provide the relevant and effective science education for all students that is needed for the 21st century. I will also cover more meaningful and effective ways to measure the quality of teaching. Although the focus of the talk is on undergraduate science and engineering teaching, the underlying principles come from studies of the general development of expertise and apply widely.

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