Teaching Seminar

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In this video-recorded workshop, Deborah Mowshowitz, associate professor and director of undergraduate programs in Columbia University's biological sciences department, offers guidance on running an effective discussion in an undergraduate science class. Mowshowitz models and describes the skills of a successful discussion leader, addressing topics such as student engagement and how to pose questions that provoke conversation, and provides tips for classroom troubleshooting.

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Teaching Seminar

Discipline:
Resource type:

In this video-recorded workshop, Deborah Mowshowitz, associate professor and director of undergraduate programs in Columbia University's biological sciences department, offers guidance on running an effective discussion in an undergraduate science class. Mowshowitz models and describes the skills of a successful discussion leader, addressing topics such as student engagement and how to pose questions that provoke conversation, and provides tips for classroom troubleshooting.

Can Case Studies Be Used to Teach Critical Thinking?

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This brief article from Journal of College Science Teaching presents an argument in favor of using "interrupted case studies" in teaching science to undergraduates. Such case studies, the author writes, help students develop critical thinking skills and present science as the messy, incomplete, and creative process that it is for those who do research. The author, Clyde Freeman Herreid, directs the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, and is a distinguished professor of biological sciences.

Hints for a Successful Exam

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The Frontiers of Science teaching staff distributes this set of exam-taking tips to students; the list contains useful advice for any undergraduate science student and may be adapted to suit a specific course. This document may be especially useful as a template for new instructors.

Student Questions on General Topics in Science

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At the end of the term, when all lectures, readings, and assignments are a thing of the past, the instructors in Frontiers of Science use an anonymous survey to find out what further information their students wish to understand. The instructors set aside time to answer some of these questions and consider them when revising the curriculum for the next term. We post them here to give you a sense of the interests, understanding, and misunderstandings among students in a general college science course. The questions in this document are those pertaining to science in general, rather than to a particular discipline.

A Seminar Leader's Manual

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This manual, a valuable resource to many Columbia teaching assistants, was compiled by Deborah Mowshowitz, associate professor and director of Undergraduate Programs in Columbia University's Department of Biological Sciences. Mowshowitz has drawn on her extensive experience as a teacher to provide advice and tips on effectively planning and leading discussions in undergraduate science classes.

Student Survey

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This survey is used in Frontiers of Science to help instructors learn about their students' backgrounds, interests, and concerns.

Frontiers of Science Unit Matrix

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For each unit of Frontiers of Science, the teaching staff creates and relies on a "matrix" that shows the unit's content and main ideas and how these build on one another. This document is a blank template for others to use in creating matrices for their own courses.

Subjects to Cover on the First Day of Class

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This document is a compilation of points to cover in the first meeting of a class. This is especially handy as a guide for new instructors or as a checklist for those with teaching experience.

Frontiers of Science Alternative Assessment Options

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In this document, the teaching staff of Frontiers of Science proposes variations on the usual weekly assignment in order to allow students to relate science to their individual experiences and interests.