CEILS Senior Associate Director and CEILS Affiliates Receive Physics & Astronomy Department Teaching Awards

Shanna Shaked, CEILS Senior Associate Director and lecturer in Physics received a teaching award for her work revising and teaching Physics 5B.

Ian McLean, faculty in Physics and Astronomy who serves as the Chair of CEILS Advisory Board, received an award for Physics 5C.

Josh Samani, CEILS Instructional Consultant and Lecturer PSOE received an award for Physics 5A along with the prestigious “Teacher of the Year Award” for his work and in recognition of his scholarship in pedagogy, service to the department, and his role providing the backbone of the new Physics 5 series from its introduction in Fall 2017.

Shanna, Ian, and Josh were among several faculty awarded for their teaching efforts in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2018 – congratulations to all!

Student Learning Outcomes and Attitudes Using Three Methods of Group Formation in a Nonmajors Biology Class

– CBE Life Sciences

Group work is often a key component of student-centered pedagogies, but there is conflicting evidence about what types of groups provide the most benefit for undergraduate students. The authors investigated student learning outcomes and attitudes toward working in groups when students were assigned to groups using different methods in a large-enrollment, student-centered class, with particular interest in how students entering the class with different levels of competence in biology performed in homogeneous or heterogeneous groups, and what types of group compositions were formed using different methods of group formation. They found that low-competence students had higher learning outcomes when they were in heterogeneous groups, while mid- and high-competence students performed equally well in both group types. Students of all competence types had better attitudes toward group work in heterogeneous groups. The use of student demographic variables to preemptively form groups and allowing students to self-select their group mates both yielded heterogeneous competence groups. Students in the instructor-formed, demographic groups had higher learning outcomes compared with students allowed to self-select. Thus, heterogeneous groupings provided the most benefit for students in our nonmajors, large-enrollment class.

A Low-Intensity, Hybrid Design between a “Traditional” and a “Course-Based” Research Experience Yields Positive Outcomes for Science Undergraduate Freshmen and Shows Potential for Large-Scale Application

CBE Life Sciences

Based on positive student outcomes, providing research experiences from early undergraduate years is recommended for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors. To this end, the authors designed a novel research experience called the “STEMCats Research Experience” (SRE) for a cohort of 119 second-semester freshmen with diverse college preparatory levels, demographics, and academic majors. The SRE targeted student outcomes of enhancing retention in STEM majors, STEM competency development, and STEM academic performance.