Improving Board Work with Colors

by Yi-Chuan Lu, Physics Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2016 Physics is a subject that describes nature by using precise mathematical language. When we teach physics, it is inevitable to prove equations in addition to explaining the physical phenomena, but it is also the time when students get frustrated. For example, Continue Reading >>

Asking Effective Questions

Elicit thought and reflection by asking effective questions when you interact with students during lab.

Interdisciplinary Team Peer-to-Peer Learning with Guided Inquiry

by Dwight Springthorpe, Integrative Biology
Students come from many backgrounds, including biology, engineering, and physics, and range from second-year undergraduates to Ph.D. candidates.… I addressed this difficulty with carefully structured group problem solving during discussion sections.… Since the problem sets drew on all the group’s skills, students would find themselves alternating between teaching and learning roles.

Bridging Mathematical Models and Managerial Decisions

by Auyon Siddiq, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research
While the content in a typical operations research course is usually technical, the field itself is actually quite practical… I viewed it as part of my job to help convey the idea that the seemingly abstract methods taught in class could in fact have a significant positive impact on how decisions are made in a wide variety of domains.

A Clinical Approach to Human Anatomy

by Britney Kitamata-Wong, Integrative Biology (Home Department: Optometry)
I approached my teaching this second time around from a more clinical perspective, pulling from my patient-care experiences in my optometry clinical rotations. … I polled the class to gauge their interests and confirmed that many of the students were interested in pursuing careers in a medical or health-related field. I structured each of my lectures in a case presentation format starting with patient information, initial signs and symptoms, and applicable visuals.

Becoming Your Own Dictionary: Increasing Participation and Communicative Confidence through Semiotic Brainstorming

by Emily A. Hellmich, French (Home Department: Education)
I realized that while my students did have passionate opinions as well as a desire to communicate them, they hesitated: not knowing one specific word represented an insurmountable barrier to them that shut down communication and sent them running to a more expert resource… I led the students in the creation of a “semiotic brainstorm” meant to show them not only just how much French they already knew but also to detail, step-by-step, one way to access this knowledge in communication.

Intuition Is What You Need to Take Home!

by Caroline Delaire, Civil and Environmental Engineering
I quickly realized that the class generated a lot of anxiety. Students, undergraduate and graduate alike, were surprised and challenged by the quantity of equations and algebra involved in lectures and homeworks. I helped them the best I could with solving problem sets, but at the same time I started to understand that by focusing on algebra and equations students were at risk of missing the point of the class: gaining practical knowledge about water chemistry. They were simply not developing the intuition that would help them address real world environmental issues!

The Importance of Implicit Feature Awareness for Problem Solving in Organic Chemistry

by Jordan Axelson, Chemistry
During 2012, I served as head GSI for both first and second semesters of organic chemistry (Chemistry 3A and 3B). Despite the utility of resonance in solving problems presented during these classes, I found that at the end of Chem 3B, many students still struggled to understand and apply resonance…To alleviate this challenge, I built a kit that included a stainless steel “whiteboard,” dry-erase markers, and colored magnetic pieces meant to represent a single lobe of a p-orbital.

Problem Solving and the Random Number Generator

by Justin Hollenback, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Based on the mistakes the students were making, I felt that the example problems I presented weren’t conveying the material as well as I wanted. Students did not appear engaged or actively learning during lecture. In response, I developed a strategy … to make the process of working out example problems in class more interactive.

Fostering the Ability to Think Like an Experimenter in a Lecture Course

by Daniel Bliss, Molecular and Cell Biology (Home Department: Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute)
Their proficiency at internalizing and recalling textbook-level explanations had led them astray. My challenge, I realized, was to help them be able to switch into the thinking mode of an experimenter.