February 10, 2014
What happens when a professor who is an outstanding lecturer (as attested to by great student evaluations and full course enrollments) finds out that students aren’t learning? And once presented with strong evidence that lecturing, no matter how excellent, isn’t working, what can a professor do next?
There will be multiple opportunities this Friday to hear how internationally recognized expert on peer instruction Eric Mazur, the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University, has grappled with these questions.
Visitors from around the world flock to Mazur’s Boston classroom to observe his methods of generating interactive and team-based, project-based learning. “So it is very exciting that U-M faculty and graduate student instructors will have the chance to experience his approach firsthand,” says Matt Kaplan, interim director of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching.
The first of Mazur’s three presentations will kick off at 9 a.m. in the Michigan League Ballroom with “Peer Instruction: Confessions of a Converted Lecturer.” Mazur will demonstrate ways to get students talking productively about course content and approaches for using class time to quickly find out what students do or don’t understand — even in large-course settings.
At noon in the Johnson Rooms of the Lurie Engineering Center, Mazur will headline the Student Learning at Michigan seminar series with “Catalyzing Learning Using Learning Catalytics.” One feature of this interactive classroom management system is its ability to check performance data and the geographic location of each student and then pair or group together the students most likely to learn from each other.
At 2 p.m. in the same location, all instructors — regardless of discipline — are invited to attend a workshop hosted by the College of Engineering. This will be an opportunity for thinking through how one’s own lectures might be transformed into active learning activities and projects.
Finally, at 9 a.m. Feb. 20, CRLT will offer a follow-up workshop for instructors who wish to talk further about implementing Mazur’s ideas in their own courses.
Inspired by Eric Mazur's methods, Steve Yalisove, professor of materials science and engineering, radically redesigned his sophomore materials science engineering course. Learn more about Yalisove’s project, which was supported by a Third Century Initiative Quick Wins grant.
Organized by CRLT, Mazur’s visit is co-sponsored by the College of Engineering, the Learning Analytics Task Force, the LSA Dean’s Office, the Office of the Research, and the Departments of Physics, Astronomy, Biophysics, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Mathematics, and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.