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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. Our theme this spring is “Your Course from the Ground Up.” We’ll read about, discuss, and work on some of the fundamental elements of designing and teaching a whole course or individual lesson. We’ll also learn about how UO faculty approach the challenge of designing and teaching their courses by inviting people in to discuss their experiences in detail and by fanning out to observe classrooms in the wild. Please join us!

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

For more information, see http://scilit.uoregon.edu


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

Week 1:

Do you have goals for your students that go beyond learning the scientific content of your course?  Maybe you want them to develop skills that will enable them to learn on their own after the course is finished.  Or you want them to get better at working in groups.  Or you just want them to appreciate how cool your subject is!  How can you make sure all these goals come through in your course?  This week in Journal Club we will begin our investigation of “Your Course from the Ground Up” by considering L. Dee Fink’s approach to creating significant learning experiences, which includes paying attention to some of these less tangible goals in addition to disciplinary content goals.  To prepare, please read:

Chapter 2: A Taxonomy of Significant Learning in Fink, L.D. 2013. Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

The book is available as an e-book at this link or you can access the e-book from the UO Library.

Week 2:

If you couldn’t make it to Journal Club last week, you’re in luck!  Our stimulating discussion barely scratched the surface of our reading, so we’ll continue it this week.  If you haven’t had a chance to read the chapter yet, please read:

Chapter 2: A Taxonomy of Significant Learning in Fink, L.D. 2013. Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.  The book is available as an e-book at this link or you can access it through the UO Library.

Week 3:

You probably have lots of ideas about the knowledge and skills you’d like your students to have when they finish your course.  How can you design the course to make sure your students actually acquire that knowledge?  We’ll talk about and get some practice with one approach in journal club this week.  To prepare, please read:

Pages 67 – 92 of Chapter 3: Designing Significant Learning Experiences I in Fink, L.D. 2013. Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.  The book is available as an e-book at this link  or you can access the e-book from the UO Library .

If you have a list of learning objectives for your course, please bring it with you to journal club.

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Week 4:

Do you use multiple-choice questions on your exams?  They are much easier on the grader than other exam formats, but their construction requires careful attention if the test is to be fair, able to assess higher-order cognitive skills, and useful in distinguishing different levels of student ability.  This week in journal club we’ll read a paper that addresses these concerns.  To prepare, please read:

Xu, X., Kauer, S., & Tupy, S. (2016). Multiple-choice questions: Tips for optimizing assessment in-seat and online. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology2(2), 147. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/stl0000062

Please bring a favorite multiple-choice question with you to journal club this week.

Week 5:

How can we assess students’ mastery of learning objectives?  Last week we talked about multiple choice exams.  This week we’ll cast our net wider, considering other methods and how to give students feedback they can use to improve their work.  To prepare, please read:

Pages 92 – 111 of Chapter 3: Designing Significant Learning Experiences I in Fink, L.D. 2013. Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.  The book is available as an e-book at this link or you can access the e-book from the UO Library.

Also suggested: Designing Better Quizzes: Ideas for Rethinking Your Quiz Practices. (2018). Faculty Focus, Magna Publications.  Available here for free, but registration is required.  Alternatively, contact Julie or Austin for a pdf.

It’s week 5- a great time to get some feedback on how students are learning in your course.  The UO is currently piloting new student experience surveys.  If you’re interested in participating, go to https://provost.uoregon.edu/revising-teaching-evaluations and follow the link in the Phase One section.

Week 6:

What strategies can you use to plan effective class sessions efficiently?  Our reading this week has some good advice.  To prepare, please read:

Chapter 4: Planning Class Sessions in Felder, R. M., & Brent, R. (2016). Teaching and learning STEM: A practical guide. John Wiley & Sons. Available as an ebook here or through the UO library here

Note: To prepare for Week 7’s Journal Club, please observe an undergraduate science class, preferably one outside your department so as to mimic the experience of being a student as much as possible.  Note what happens in the class: what are the instructor and students doing?  Are the students learning actively?  How do the instructor and students know if the students are understanding the content?  The TEP Peer Teaching Observation Guide is useful to help you know what to look for.  Be sure to contact the instructor ahead to time to see if you’re welcome to sit in, and reassure them that our discussions will focus on pedagogical techniques used and not mention specific names or courses!

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Week 7:

It is incredibly instructive and interesting to observe teachers in the classroom to see how they approach their class sessions, difficult material and situations, classroom management, etc.  Observing classes outside your own field is particularly helpful, because relative unfamiliarity with the material more closely mimics the experience of the students.  Your homework this week is to observe an undergraduate science class.  Note what happens in the class: what are the instructor and students doing?  Are the students learning actively?  How do the instructor and students know if the students are understanding the content?  The TEP Peer Teaching Observation Guide  is useful to guide your eye.  Be sure to contact the instructor ahead to time to see if you’re welcome to sit in!  Come to Journal Club prepared to talk about some of the pedagogical techniques used and how the observation was useful for you.  We’ll take care to preserve the anonymity of the instructor and the course.

Week 8:

How do you view your syllabus?  Is it an inviting introduction to your course, a defensive document, or maybe a little of both?  How do your students see it?  Join us this week to talk about the syllabus and how to craft a welcoming document that students will engage with.  To prepare, please read:

Fornaciari, C. J., & Lund Dean, K. (2014). The 21st-century syllabus: From pedagogy to andragogy. Journal of Management Education38(5), 701-723.  http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1052562913504763

Week 9:

This week in Journal Club we will have a Teaching Showcase.  Robin Hopkins, an Instructor in Human Physiology, will join us to discuss her course called The Science of Health (HPHY 112), which is a Science Literacy Program course.  She’ll talk a bit about her general approach and a series of assignments the students do.  We’ll also spend some time with her interesting syllabus, which fits right in with our overall focus as we approach the end of the term.

Week 10:

We will finish out the year with a discussion about how to make a syllabus your students will find engaging and useable.  To prepare, please read: Lund Dean, K., & Fornaciari, C. J. (2014). The 21st-century syllabus: Tips for putting andragogy into practice. Journal of Management Education38(5), 724-732. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1052562913504764

 Please bring a copy of a syllabus with you to journal club this week.

Many thanks to all who have participated in the Science Teaching Journal Club this year.  Your insights, opinions, and willingness to engage enhance the experience for everyone, and have made this another outstanding year for the group.  We look forward to seeing you all again in fall!

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