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Science Teaching Journal Club

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The Science Teaching Journal Club invites you to participate in our eighth 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 fall we will pick up the idea that good teaching is inclusive, engaged, and research-led.  Each week we will read and discuss articles from the science education literature with a view to gleaning ideas to apply to our own teaching.  Please join us!

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

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:

Research shows that active learning provides the foundation for efficient, long-term learning.  But what constitutes active learning, and how can you decide which activities will work best with your style and the content you want to teach?  To learn more, please read:

Arthurs, L. A., & Kreager, B. Z. (2017). An integrative review of in-class activities that enable active learning in college science classroom settings. International Journal of Science Education, 1-19.

Week 2:

Many of the papers we read report improvements in student learning and retention resulting from fairly large-scale changes in course structure.  But what are some simple changes we could make that could still have a significant impact on student learning?  This week we will discuss a way to design homework to incorporate recall, spacing, and feedback, all of which are linked to improved performance.  For more details, please read: 

Butler, A. C., Marsh, E. J., Slavinsky, J. P., & Baraniuk, R. G. (2014). Integrating cognitive science and technology improves learning in a STEM classroom. Educational Psychology Review26(2), 331-340.

 Week 3:

Learning student names can be tough in a large class, but when students feel their instructor knows their name, they often feel more valued, more invested in the course, and more comfortable communicating with and asking for help from the instructor.  The great news is that sometimes all that’s necessary is the perception that the instructor knows student names!  To learn more and prepare for our meeting this week, please read:

Cooper, K. M., Haney, B., Krieg, A., & Brownell, S. E. (2017). What’s in a Name? The Importance of Students Perceiving That an Instructor Knows Their Names in a High-Enrollment Biology Classroom. CBE-Life Sciences Education16(1), ar8.

 Week 4:

It’s often difficult to get students to engage with course material in a way that addresses the underlying ideas so that they synthesize various concepts into a larger understanding.  This week’s paper attempts to accomplish this goal through short writing assignments that draw on work the students have done in other parts of the course.  To prepare for our meeting, please read:

Koffman, B. G., Kreutz, K. J., & Trenbath, K. (2017). Integrating Scientific Argumentation to Improve Undergraduate Writing and Learning in a Global Environmental Change Course. Journal of Geoscience Education65(3), 231-239.

This is Week 4 of the quarter, a great time to get some student feedback about how things are going in your course! TEP recommends asking a few simple questions, with perhaps a few others to address issues specific to your course. Consider using an online survey (e.g. through Canvas) to ask:

Once students have completed the survey, thank them and talk about the results in class, even if you won’t be implementing any of their suggestions! This makes students feel that you actually care what they think, predisposing them to evaluate you favorably in the future. The conversation also makes it more likely that you will follow through on any planned changes. For more ideas and details on how to implement the survey, visit the TEP website at:


 Week 5:

Underrepresented minority students often don’t do as well in STEM courses as their white counterparts.  Much research has been done on ways to close this achievement gap.  This week’s paper reports encouraging results from a values affirmation intervention.  To prepare, please read:

Jordt, H., Eddy, S. L., Brazil, R., Lau, I., Mann, C., Brownell, S. E., ... & Freeman, S. (2017). Values Affirmation Intervention Reduces Achievement Gap between Underrepresented Minority and White Students in Introductory Biology Classes. CBE-Life Sciences Education16(3), ar41.

 Week 6:

Teaching Showcase: This week we will have a special guest in the journal club.  Santiago Jaramillo, of UO’s Department of Biology, will join us to talk about his teaching, especially the new SLP course he taught in Spring, BI 160: From Brains to Intelligent Machines.  Join us to talk with him about how he approached designing the class, the pedagogical methods he and his team used, and how things went.  There is no homework to do to prepare for the meeting this week.

Week 7:

Many students overestimate their command of course material and how well they will do on exams and quizzes.  This may lead them to study less than they should, or to allocate their study time unwisely.  What can we do to help students more accurately judge their level of understanding and help them identify their weak spots?  This week’s paper discusses an intervention designed to increase students’ metacognition about course content and help them focus their efforts on the areas that need the most improvement.  To prepare please read:

Casselman, B. L., & Atwood, C. H. (2017). Improving General Chemistry Course Performance through Online Homework-Based Metacognitive Training. Journal of Chemical Education

Week 8:

This week in the Science Teaching Journal Club we will discuss improvements in student learning resulting from having small groups use whiteboards to focus their efforts when they solve problems in class.  To prepare, please read:

Inouye, C. Y., Bae, C. L., & Hayes, K. N. (2017). Using whiteboards to support college students’ learning of complex physiological concepts. Advances in Physiology Education41(3), 478-484.

Week 9:

The journal club will not meet this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.  Hope to see you next week!

Week 10:

Many undergraduate science students are unaware of the degree to which racial and ethnic minorities are underrepresented in sciences, and how their own actions might contribute to or mitigate these disparities.  This week we will discuss a paper about a unit on racial equity in the sciences that was taught in an introductory physics course.  To prepare, please read:

Daane, A. R., Decker, S. R., & Sawtelle, V. (2017). Teaching About Racial Equity in Introductory Physics Courses. The Physics Teacher55(6), 328-333.

Also look at one or more of the reports from the American Institute of Physics (AIP) Statistical Research Center about student representation in Physical Sciences and Engineering.  

1) Native American Participation among Bachelors in Physical Sciences and Engineering;

2) African American Participation among Bachelors in Physical Sciences and Engineering; or

3) Hispanic Participation among Bachelors in Physical Sciences and Engineering

Reports are available from this link:

Next term in the Science Teaching Journal Club, we will read a book, Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning by James Lang.  You can purchase a copy of the book or an electronic copy is available free to download from the UO Library for 21 days.