Wednesday, December 9, 2015

STEM Teaching MOOC complete, Achievement unlocked

I might have to print this out and hang it in my office. 

I just received an electronic certificate of accomplishment for completing "An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching". It was a great experience on a number of different levels:

First, I wanted to investigate the learner experience and the pedagogic structure of a MOOC. I will be teaching an online version of my general education course (GERM 2520 German Culture and Civilization) this coming spring, so this course offered many insights into both sides of the online delivery model.

Second, I saw this course as a great opportunity to learn more about instructional methods in the STEM fields. Having left science, math, and engineering behind so long ago, I was curious to see how STEM educators today prepare their students for the real-world application of course content. Unfortunately, most of my STEM colleagues I told about the course here at Tech were not able to complete it along with me, so we did not get to discuss methods or to collaboratively create learner experiences. Nevertheless, my colleagues (Chem Engineering, Geology, and Physics) and I did find time to have an hour-long discussion about the most valuable parts of the course which might have inspired them to take this course the next time it is offered.

Third, I wanted to insure that my instructional methods still reflect the best practices across the disciplines. I am constantly on the lookout for professional development opportunities like this, especially since we haven't had a teaching workshop here at Tech for a while now. Years ago, a course design workshop at the University of Virginia inspired me to adapt Eric Mazur's ConcepTest model to my humanities classroom, and I continue to find ways to integrate similar tools into my classroom. The ConcepTest model remains invaluable to me as a formative assessment and peer instruction tool, and it was vital to my flipped classroom (GERM 1010) this past semester  Once I receive my course evaluations, I will be able to share some of my methods and results. Look for that in a future post.

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