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Wednesday, June 18 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
POSTER.07 – Impact of the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia

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Since 2007, the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) has influenced the teaching of dozens of faculty and the learning of tens of thousands of students by promoting the "expertise-based classroom", where the goal is to guide students on the path from novice thinking toward expertise in the discipline.  Departments were identified as the unit of change and the key factor in this change has been the addition of Science Teaching and Learning Fellows (STLFs) to each department (Wieman, Perkins & Gilbert, 2010).  An STLF has deep disciplinary expertise (often a PhD) and is trained in current learning science in order to partner with faculty members as a course consultant in creating or adapting evidence-based methods and measuring effectiveness toward learning.  The approach targets all four of the basic change models described by Henderson, Beach, and Finkelstein (2011), with elements focusing on both individuals and institutional structures, each having both prescribed (e.g., adoption of specific teaching practices) and emergent (e.g., building some form of community) outcomes.

The CWSEI has led to extensive success in transforming undergraduate science education at UBC, with a particular specialty in high-engagement methods in large classrooms where traditional lecture had long dominated.  Most of the course transformations have employed online elements in helping to maximize the value of face-to-face time in class, while personal response systems ("clickers") have become a common method to support small group discussion in large classes.  Classrooms with active participation, even at the early undergraduate level, are now perceived as relatively normal by students (Welsh 2012), and feedback has been positive overall from students and faculty involved in these course projects.

Much faculty development occurs; several faculty so far have continued to implement their new strategies on their own in subsequent courses (Wieman, Deslauriers & Gilley, 2013).  Within departments and across the Faculty of Science, STLFs and their partner faculty have created communities around teaching innovation -- a culture change essential to any lasting effect.  Owing to this inclusion of scholarship as an essential aspect of the CWSEI, a significant knowledge base of practical resources and published evidence of effectiveness has accrued (see cwsei.ubc.ca, particularly the Resources section), and the STLF model is being adopted elsewhere.

This poster will outline the Initiative and present some of the lessons learned around the novel role of the STLF, along with key indicators of success including department activity, quantified changes in teaching practice, and research output which includes recommended teaching practices.


Wednesday June 18, 2014 4:00pm - 5:30pm
McArthur Hall

Attendees (7)