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Science Literacy Teaching Journal Club

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The Science Teaching Journal Club invites you to participate in our seventh year of weekly gatherings! The journal club is a cooperative effort of the Teaching Engagement Program and the Science Literacy Program. Meetings feature lively, structured discussions across discipline and rank with periodic small-scale teaching experiments. Participants from all disciplines are invited to join the whole series or stop by for a specific conversation.

This group provides a wonderful space to learn about, discuss and develop new ideas about teaching.  This spring our theme will be evidence-based teaching in practice.  We will divide the term into two-week segments; in the first week of each segment we will read about and discuss a topic or technique, and in the second we will either try it out ourselves or talk with a guest who uses the technique in their own teaching.

We offer two journal club sessions to choose from each week; content will usually be the same for both. 

We will meet in 217 LISB (Lewis Integrative Sciences Building) at 9:00 am on Thursdays and 1:00 pm on Fridays.

For more information, see

Jump to:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10


Week 1:

Transparent Teaching, Week A.  Equal access to college does not necessarily translate to equal probability of success.  What can we do to help level the playing field?  In the term’s first two-week segment, we will learn about transparent teaching methods, which can help all students succeed by explicitly stating goals and criteria that often remain implicit.  To prepare, please read:

Winkelmes, M. A., Bernacki, M., Butler, J., Zochowski, M., Golanics, J., & Weavil, K. H. (2016). A Teaching Intervention that Increases Underserved College Students' Success. Peer Review18(1/2), 31.


Berrett, D. (Sept. 21, 2015).  The Unwritten Rules of College. Chronicle of Higher Education

Week 2:

This week we continue our segment on Transparent Teaching.  Please bring with you to journal club paper copies of two assignments that you have given your students or that you have been assigned in a class. In addition, please read the guidelines for transparency from the UNLV website:

Transparent Assignment Template

Checklist for Designing a Transparent Assignment

Week 3:

This week we will focus on using storytelling in science to teach the nature of science, science content, and to build student interest in science courses. The Thursday session will read:

 Clough, M. P. (Sept. 29, 2010). The Story Behind the Science: Bringing Science and Scientists to Life in Post-Secondary Science Education. Science and Education

 To get a sense of the approach that the authors take and what they include, please also look over one of the stories at the following link:

 The Friday session will attend the workshop “Scientific Storytelling: Humanities Meets Science” led by Jennifer Yates from Ohio Wesleyan University. The workshop will be held in EMU Swindells Room from 1-2 PM.


Week 4:

Screencasts, Week A.  In a “flipped” class, students’ initial encounter with material occurs before class, leaving the class session available for active learning that allows closer, guided engagement with the material.  Many faculty create “screencast” videos for students to watch as part of that initial dip into the material.  In this two-week segment, we will investigate what makes a good screencast and get some practice making them.  To prepare, please read:

Yeung, K. (2014). Making ‘the flip’work: barriers to and implementation strategies for introducing flipped teaching methods into traditional higher education courses. New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences, (10), 59-63.

Also watch and think about the positive and negative aspects of these screencasts:

Week 5:

Screencasts, Week B.  Make a plan for generating a short screencast.  Choose a topic, decide how you will generate your visuals and make them if appropriate, and make a storyboard (decide how your narration will fit in with your visuals).  We will have some computers with screencast recording software available, but if you’d like, you can install software on your own computer; a list of software packages is available on Wikipedia’s Comparison of Screencasting Software page:

For some good screencasting tips, see

We will have four computers with the programs Camtasia, Quicktime, Screencast-O-Matic, and ActivePresenter, to be used for recording audio and videos from PowerPoint, document camera, Wacom tablet with stylus, and/or self recording of your head through a laptop camera.

Week 6:

This week the journal club will welcome two special guests, science education researchers visiting our campus. 

On Thursday we will be joined by Prof. David Hestenes, of the Department of Physics at Arizona State University.  Prof. Hestenes was one of the main developers of the widely-used Force Concept Inventory, which is used to measure students’ conceptual understanding of physical forces.  Prof. Hestenes has developed a method for teaching physics based on using conceptual models.  In his time with us, we will discuss the cognitive foundations behind this pedagogy.  To prepare, please read:

Series, Archives–SemiotiX New. "Conceptual Modeling in physics, mathematics and cognitive science."

Please also have a look at Prof. Hestenes’ PowerPoint presentation and identify questions you may have for him.  The presentation can be found here:

On Friday our guest will be Prof. Matthew Hora, a member of the Department of Liberal Arts & Applied Studies and a Research Scientist at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Prof. Hora’s visit with us will center on his research into how students study and how we can change our instructional design to encourage more efficient studying.  To prepare, please read Prof. Hora’s paper:

Hora, M.T. & Oleson, A.K. (2017). Examining study habits in undergraduate STEM courses from a situative perspective. International Journal of STEM Education, 4 (1), 1-19.


Week 7:

Teaching Showcase, Week A.  In this two-week segment we will hear from some faculty using evidence-based techniques in their classes.  Next week, Raghu Parthasarathy (Thursday) and Kelly Sutherland (Friday) will share the approaches they take to teaching their classes and highlight activities they have developed for their students.  This week, we will build a foundation for some of the central ideas our guests will discuss.  To prepare…

For Thursday please read:  Why peer discussion improves student performance on in-class concept questions.

And watch a short video, “Clickers in the Classroom:  The Research.  Do clickers help students learn?”

For Friday please read:  Greenwald, A. G., & Krieger, L. H. (2006). Implicit bias: Scientific foundations. California Law Review94(4), 945-967.


Bartlett, T. (2017). Can we really measure implicit bias? Maybe not. The Chronicle of Higher Education. :

Week 8:

Teaching Showcase, Week B.  Our plan for this week has changed somewhat. 

 On Thursday, we will have a teaching showcase in which Prof. Raghu Parthasarathy of the Department of Physics will give us a window into the non-majors courses he teaches and the methods he uses.  To prepare, please consider reading:

 Parthasarathy, R. (2012). Cars and Kinetic Energy—Some Simple Physics with Real-World Relevance. The Physics Teacher50(7), 395-397.

 On Friday, we initially planned to have Prof. Kelly Sutherland talk about her courses, with an emphasis on implicit bias and the implicit association assignment she gave her students.  However, it happens that on Friday the Division of Equity and Inclusion will be hosting Benjamin Reese, the vice president and chief diversity officer for the Office for Institutional Equity at Duke University, who will be leading a forum and two workshops about implicit bias.  Following Kelly’s gracious suggestion, we will postpone her teaching showcase and instead encourage people to attend one of Prof. Reese’s events.  For more information and to RSVP, please visit

Week 9:

E Instructional Design, Week A.  Think about a recent class session you ran or attended.  How was the session organized?  The order of the elements of a class period can influence student learning.  In this final two-week segment of the term we will consider the 5E Model for organizing class sessions.  This week we will read a feature article describing the 5E Model, and next week special guest Dr. Bryan Rebar of STEMCORE will discuss how he uses the model to design STEMCORE outreach experiences.  To prepare for this week, please read:

Tanner, K. D. (2010). Order matters: using the 5E model to align teaching with how people learn.CBE-Life Sciences Education9(3), 159-164.

Week 10:

5E Instructional Design, Week B.  In our last meetings of the year, Dr. Bryan Rebar, Associate Director of UO’s STEM CORE, will join us to continue our discussion of the 5E Model.  Bryan and the students he works with use the 5E’s when they design activities for their outreach work.  There is no new reading to do for this week, but if you haven’t had a chance to read the 5E Model paper we read for last week, now would be a good time to do it:

Tanner, K. D. (2010). Order matters: using the 5E model to align teaching with how people learn.CBE-Life Sciences Education9(3), 159-164.

This has been another wonderful year in the Science Teaching Journal Club.  Every week, people at all stages of their careers have made interesting and thoughtful contributions to our conversations and enriched the experience for everyone.  Thank you!  Have a great summer, and we look forward to seeing you again in the fall!