Teaching and Learning

13th Annual Best Practices Conference on Teaching and Learning brings the STEM community together to promote successful strategies in improving undergraduate academic performances. World renowned experts in these fields present their findings, and best practice practitioners provide guidance on how to adapt and adopt their methods in the classroom and laboratory each year. STEM faculty members who attend this event have reported that what they learned has been instrumental in improving STEM teaching and learning at their institutions and has positively influenced the academic achievement of their students.

Date: September 18, 2015
Place: Anfiteatro Argentina S. Hills, Universidad del Turabo  
(See Google Map)
Parking fee: $1.00

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Registration is now closed.

Deadline: September 11, 2015


Invited Speakers:

Melanie Cooper

Short Bio: Melanie Cooper

Melanie Cooper is the Lappan-Phillips Professor of Science Education and Professor of Chemistry at Michigan State University. Her research has focused on improving teaching and learning in large enrollment general and organic chemistry courses at the college level, and she is a proponent of evidence-based curriculum reform for example the NSF supported "Chemistry, Life, the Universe & Everything" curriculum for general chemistry. She has also developed technological approaches to formative assessment that can recognize and respond to students free-form drawings such as the beSocratic system. She is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Research Council Advisory Board on Science Education (BOSE). She was also member of the Leadership team for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). She has received a number of awards including the ACS Award for Achievement in Research on Teaching and Learning in Chemistry (2014), the Norris award for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching of Chemistry (2013), and the Outstanding Undergraduate Science Teacher Award from the Society for College Science Teaching (2011). She earned her B.S. M.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Manchester, England.

Title Transforming how we teach is good, but transforming what we expect students to learn is better.

The transformation of introductory college-level STEM courses has been highlighted as a national priority. While there are many efforts that target such transformations, most of them are focused on the introduction of student-centered pedagogies. However, it is becoming apparent that equally, if not more important, is the need to change the expectations we have for students to help them develop deep, robust, and useful knowledge. At Michigan State University we are using an approach based on A Framework for K-12 Science Education, in which we engage faculty to identify the core ideas of the discipline, the concepts that cross disciplines, and the ways in which we use these ideas. This three-dimensional approach to teaching and learning will necessarily change the way we teach our classes and assess student learning. In this presentation I will highlight some of the changes we are making and provide examples and evidence from our transformed general chemistry course, Chemistry, Life the Universe and Everything (CLUE).

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Arthur Eisenkraft

Short Bio: Arthur Eisenkraft

Arthur Eisenkraft is the Distinguished Professor of Science Education, Professor of Physics and Director of the Center of Science and Math in Context (COSMIC) at the University of Massachusetts Boston.  For 25 years, he taught high school physics and was a 6-12 science coordinator.  He is past president of the National Science Teacher Association.  He is currently chair of the Science Academic Advisory Committee of the College Board.   He is project director of the NSF-supported Active Physics Curriculum Project that is introducing physics instruction for the first time to all students and leading a similar effort with Active Chemistry.  He is chair and co-creator of the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Awards, involving 15,000 students annually.

His current research projects include investigating the efficacy of a second generation model of distance learning for professional development; a study of professional development choices that teachers make when facing a large scale curriculum change and assessing the technological literacy of K-12 students.

Eisenkraft has received numerous awards recognizing his teaching and related work including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, the American Association of Physics Teachers Millikan Medal, the Disney Corporation's Science Teacher of the Year, and the NSTA Robert Carleton Award.  He is a fellow of the AAAS, holds a patent for a laser vision testing system and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Rennssalaer Polytechnic Institute.

Title: Making our best lessons even better

My claim is that we all have lessons that already meet the spirit of the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  We should look at our past successful lessons through the lens of these documents and make these good lessons even better.  In that way, we will understand what makes some lessons highly effective and be positioned to increase the effectiveness of all lessons. Identifying and implementing successful lessons and curriculum is the way in which teachers bridge research and practice. 


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Supplemental Reading:

Judith Harackiewicz

Short-Bio: Judith Harackiewicz

Judith Harackiewicz is the Paul Pintrich Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her BA from Cornell University in 1975 and her PhD from Harvard University in 1980. She has been studying motivation and interest for over 30 years, conducting experimental and longitudinal studies of goals, competition, and value transmission in academic contexts. Her most recent research concerns interventions to promote motivation. She is currently testing motivational interventions in college biology courses, working to promote interest and performance in the foundational course that serves as a gateway to biomedical careers.

She received the Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Teaching at UW-Madison, as well as the Alliant Energy Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award for the University of Wisconsin System. She received a Spencer Fellowship from the National Academy of Education, and in 2013, she received the Cialdini award from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. She is a former editor of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Title: Interventions to Promote STEM Motivation: The Importance of Values

Why do some students become involved and interested in their studies and why do they continue in a particular academic discipline? Do these highly motivated students learn more and obtain higher grades in their courses? In recent years, my graduate students and I have studied the factors that influence academic motivation and we believe that students’ perceived values, and interests play an important role in academic success. In this talk, I will discuss experimental laboratory studies that show the potential for promoting value perceptions in high school and college students. This basic research provides the foundation for intervention research that aims to improve motivation for students. I will review current research on motivational interventions with both parents and students, and discuss their efficacy in closing achievement gaps, as well as their potential to promote optimal motivation for all students.


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Supplemental Reading:

Ramón López

Short-Bio: Ramon Lopez

Ramon E. Lopez received his B.S. in Physics in 1980 from the University of Illinois, and his Ph.D. in Space Physics in 1986 from Rice University.  He is currently a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) where he leads a research group that is working in both space physics and science education.  Dr. Lopez is the author or co-author of over 110 peer-reviewed publications, as well as the popular science book "Storms from the Sun."  Dr. Lopez was one of the Co-Chairs of the writing team that produced the Next Generation Science Standards, and he has won numerous awards for his work in both space physics and science education.  Dr. Lopez is a Fellow of the APS and the AAAS.

Title: Multidimensional Learning: The vision of the Framework for K-12 Science Education

In 2011, the National Research Council Released "A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas", which is the foundation for the creation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  The Framework organizes science education into the Disciplinary Core Ideas, Science and Engineering Practices, and Crosscutting concepts, while the NGSS weaves these three dimensions into a set of performance exactions for students.  In this talk I will discuss how multidimensional learning is envisioned in the Framework, and how this plays out in the NGSS.  I will also discuss some ideas regarding how this vision can be reflected in classroom instruction.

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