Application of Active Learning Techniques to Upper Division Courses

Today, I led the discussion for the new(ish) 5-College PER Lunch which co-convened with the bi-monthly UMass Physics Teaching Lunch. The topic was the application of active learning techniques to upper division courses.

Much of the research literature has been on the application of active learning techniques to lower-division and introductory courses. The unique challenges of upper division courses often result in feelings that similar techniques will not work for these more advanced offerings. However, we know that actively is how people actually learn. The purpose of this session was to brainstorm the challenges and then, for break into groups to explore ways of implementing these techniques in the upper division.

The slides which guided today’s session can be found here.

UMass-Amherst Goes to AAPT SM18!

Jake Shechter presenting at AAPT SM18
Jake Shechter presenting at AAPT SM18

Brokk Toggerson, Chris Ertl, David Nguyen, and Jake Shechter are currently presenting their work at the AAPT Summer 2018 Meeting in Washington, DC.

Chris Ertl, is presenting on the fully-online labs he has been developing for the online versions of Physics 131 and 132.

Brokk Toggerson is presenting a poster on Physics 131, a poster on P132, and a presentation on P390T.

Jake Shecter is presenting on Physics 691 on Graduate TA Training and Professionalization.

Congratulations to Brokk Toggerson

Brokk Toggerson, along with Lara Al Hariri, Caleb Rounds, and Adena Calden have been awarded a Mutual Mentoring Grant by the UMass-Amherst Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (TEFD) to develop a mutual mentoring network to connect the, predominantly junior, faculty who are responsible for teaching the introductory sequence of courses for life-science majors. This collaboration would be truly interdisciplinary connecting faculty from biology, chemistry, physics, math, and kinesiology. The mentoring network will strive to develop a curriculum that is aligned both in content and skills, thereby helping students develop the tools of knowledge transfer and interdisciplinary thinking critical for a modern workforce. In addition, the network will also share pedagogical best practices particular to large-enrollment STEM courses.

Congrats to the group!