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.
Brokk Toggerson has been nominated for another distinguished teaching award for the Fall 2018 semester, his 5th in 7 semesters. The Distinguished Teaching Award is the only award at UMass for teaching that is exclusively begun by student nominations.
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.