Using Research to Improve University Science Teaching


All Day, Dec. 7, 2017

Stream Now

In the past few decades there has been great progress in research on teaching and learning.  When the findings from this research have been applied in university classrooms, dramatic improvements in learning have been seen compared to traditional lecture instruction, particularly on tests that capture how well the student is able to make decisions like an expert in the subject.  In this seminar, the Science Education Initiative is highlighted to show how to achieve widespread adoption of these improved teaching methods in science departments at major research universities.

Carl Wieman, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics and of the
Graduate School of Education
Nobel Laureate

Carl Wieman has held a joint appointment as Professor of Physics and of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University since 2013. Wieman was the founder of PhET which now provides online interactive simulations that are used more than 100 million times per year to learn science in grades 4-16. Wieman directed the science education initiatives at the Universities of Colorado and British Columbia which carried out large scale change in teaching methods across university science departments. He has published a book, “Improving How Universities Teach Science” based on the results and lessons of that program.  He also served as Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House in 2010-12.  He has done extensive experimental research in both atomic physics and science education at the university level. Wieman has received numerous awards recognizing his work in atomic physics, including the Nobel Prize in physics in 2001 for the first creation of a Bose-Einstein condensate.  He has also studied student learning and problem solving and the comparative effectiveness of different methods for teaching science.  The education work has been recognized with a number of awards including the Carnegie Foundation US University Professor of the Year in 2004, the Oersted Medal for physics education, and a lifetime achievement award from the National Science Teachers Association.

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