Newsworthy Articles

Is It Ever OK to Lecture?

Telling is a time-tested and efficient way to communicate information. Just try to keep the strengths and weaknesses of lecturing in mind. The most effective teaching involves looking to communicate information in inefficient ways — that is, in ways that make students work to understand the information, and not just listen passively. So when we lecture, we need to:

  • Supplement periods of telling with activities in which students can then put to use the information we tell them.
  • Design activities that allow students to integrate the new information into their prior knowledge and make new concepts.
  • Think about how to prime students to receive a lecture, by creating activities that reveal to them the gaps in their own knowledge.

A big benefit of engaging students in active learning is that it reveals — to us and to them — what they don’t yet understand. With lecturing, we can tell them all we want, but whether they’re listening is anyone’s guess.

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Congratulations to two CIRTL Scholars for presenting their Teaching as Research projects on the CIRTL network to the national cross network community.

Congratulations to two CIRTL Scholars for presenting their Teaching as Research projects on the CIRTL network to the national cross network community.

Elizabeth Mills: “Mixed Methods Assessment of Introductory Physics for Life Sciences Labs at UCLA” and Elizabeth Reid-Wainscoat: “Does temperament composition impact group dynamics in an upper division biology lab course?”

Elizabeth Mills

Elizabeth Reid-Wainscoat

Check out the videos of their presentations on the CIRTL.net website!

The Trade-offs of Teamwork among STEM Doctoral Graduates

Kniffin, K. M., & Hanks, A. S. (2018). The trade-offs of teamwork among STEM doctoral graduates. American Psychologist, 73(4), 420-432. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000288

Teamwork has increasingly become prevalent in professional fields such as academic science, perhaps partly because research shows that teams tend to produce superior work. Although research on teamwork has typically focused on its impact on work products, the authors complement that work by examining the degree to which teamwork influences salary, hours worked, and overall job satisfaction. Drawing on microdata collected through the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Doctorate Recipients as well as the Survey of Earned Doctorates, the authors find that doctoral degree holders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields tend to earn substantially higher salaries and work more hours when they engage in teamwork.

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Report Pushes for Big Change in Graduate STEM Ed

National Academies report urges program data transparency and a focus on core competencies.

U.S. graduate education in science, technology, engineering and math is, in many ways, the “gold standard” for the world. But it can and must better prepare graduates for a changing science landscape and multiple careers. It should also be more transparent in terms of where graduates end up working. So says a major new report on the future of graduate STEM education from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The report was drafted by the Committee on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century, chaired by Alan Leshner, chief executive officer emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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