A new model for transforming the teaching in post-secondary education f ocus on science but likely general. An experiment in institutional change. 1. Motivation 2. Goals and brief description 3. Some early results and observations 4. Underlying ideas/rationale for design.
focus on science but likely general
An experiment in institutional change
2. Goals and brief description
3. Some early results and observations
4. Underlying ideas/rationale for design
(as branch of physics research)
consistent with principles from learning research
Consistent picture Achieving learning
16 traditional Lecture
Fraction of unknown basic concepts learned
Measuring conceptual mastery
Ask at start and end of semester--
What % learned? (100’s of courses)
On average learn <30% of concepts did not already know.
Lecturer quality, class size, institution,...doesn't matter!
Similar data for conceptual learning in other courses.
R. Hake, ”…A six-thousand-student survey…” AJP 66, 64-74 (‘98).
How to make these more effective research-based teaching practices the norm in every post-secondary classroom?
The goal of
CUSEI 3 yrs
CWSEI 2 yrs
Summary of results
How being implemented
“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries … and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it.”
SEI finding #1
IS EXACTLY CORRECT-- true for faculty members, administration, students, alums, funders, ...
Changing major research universities
set standards for teaching & learning science
Focus on the departmental level
decide what and how to teach in science
unit of change
“SEI Holy Trinity”
1st: Decide on learning
goals. (what should
studentsbe able to do?)
2nd: Rigorously assess
student learning on an
3rd: Apply research-based teaching techniques to improve student learning. Measure progress!
(technology to improve effectiveness & save time)
Ensure materials, data, assessment tools, software,…
saved, reused, improved. (like scientific research)
Student learning to become departmental rather
than individual instructor responsibility
SEI model for all universities
U. Colorado--3 years into 5-6 year plan.
Int. Physio, Geo. Sci., MCDB-- Over 80% of faculty have some involvement. About 60% have significantly changed how they teach. ~80% of their undergrad credit hours.
Physics and Chemistry & Biochem-- Substantial impacts,
many faculty members.
Improved 53 courses, > 10,000 student-courses/year
What accomplished at UBC (2 years into 6 year plan, ramping up incrementally)
After 2 years, dramatic progress in Earth and Ocean Sciences Dept. at UBC. Most faculty, many
Several other departments ramping up
Not always so successful!
Some depts. much slower progress
Some science departments not participating or only
doing small projects
one-time investment permanent impact
$5 M at Colorado, $12 M Cn at UBC
CW--“Hands-semi-on” funding agency
not required, but dominates $$$ and activity.
SES expert in discipline, hired by department,
trained in sci. ed., research and assessment (by me).
Work collaboratively with 1-3 faculty to implement changes in teaching and assessment for a course (SEI Trinity).
2) Labor (design, implement, assess, sustain)
3) Push research agenda and methods
The department (in research university).
Decide what gets taught, who teaches it, how it is taught.
If want change at that scale, must focus resources to match.
Major research department budget $20-40 M/yr
Can’t you change the culture of a major science dept.
for $100-200 K, instead of $1-2 M+?
Change costs time=money.
Industry-- major shift involves 5-10% or more
reallocation of annual budget.
SEI based on 5% annual budget for 5 yrs--
Looks about right.
1) Gets full department attention,
2) Roughly (?) covers cost of labor required to transform most courses (= involve most faculty).
better than simply making resources available.
5. Require good measurement of learning, but department decides on what should be learned and develops/accepts the assessment instruments.
Acknowledges their expertise and ownership.
1. Tyranny of content-- data only way to respond (?)
2. Threatening to a few faculty in variety of ways
3. “Students are lazier and less well prepared than last generation” (4000+ years and counting)
4. Individual course ownership
5. “Better instruction ≠ more work, more $$!”
Efficiencies are possible. Its ok to use other’s material.
6. Incentive systems not connected to better student
learning or using best practices.
Can’t teach x, until cover a, b, c, d ...t, u, v, and w!
2. Very high degree of similarity and challenges
across the two universities and the various
What basic differences there are between universities are smaller than differences between disciplines.
(extensive set of resources for faculty and students,
course archive (sei.ubc.ca) where course materials
assessments, etc. preserved for dissemination)