How do you learn something well? If we reflect on our areas of deep expertise, most people respond that true learning comes from doing. In his inaugural speech at Harvard University in 1869, Charles Eliot stated that science “should be taught in a rational way, objects and instruments in hand—not from books merely, not from memory chiefly, but by the seeing eye and the informing fingers.” He further reflected, that “a student in the elements gets no training by studying even a good text-book, though he really master it, nor yet by not sitting at the feet of the most admirable professor.” In science education or elsewhere, experiential learning with strong social interaction is the hallmark of my teaching philosophy.
I design my teaching using empathic, human-centered approaches, specifically design thinking. My framework for teaching blends student-centered empathy with big ideas from cognitive science, such as retrieval practice, metacognition, priming, self-regulation, and transfer of learning. I believe classroom (not standardized) assessment and pedagogy are inextricably tied; as such I approach instruction from a scientific teaching method, ensuring classroom decisions are data-driven using a variety of sources including pre-course, formative and summative assessments. I believe pedagogy comes before technology and that the purpose of classroom technology is to enhance teaching and learning. If you open the door to my classroom, you will see a variety of strategies including Peer Instruction, flipped learning, classroom response systems, hugging, bridging, team-based learning approaches, and more.
The elective system initiated at Harvard University in the 1890s radically transformed the field of higher education. It is one of only a few innovations to catalyze universal change in what and how people learn on American college and university campuses. The only other innovation in learning that approaches this scale is another Harvard pedagogy - the Case Study Method, also developed in the late 19th century. Around the same time, one of the world's most enduring technological innovations was born: the automobile. With thousands of advances since that time, today’s car is dramatically more efficient, faster, safer, and cheaper than the Model T. However, today's campuses cannot claim the same rate of progress. With the exception of opening access through online learning, since the late 1800s higher education has been stubbornly resistant to innovations facilitated by technology. This is true in nearly all areas including campus infrastructure, productivity, curriculum, teaching and learning, and the student experience. In this millennium, however, new technologies have brought us to the precipice of the next sea change. This is a very exciting time to be in our field. In this course, we explore the role of technology as a disruptive innovation in higher education, both inside and outside of the classroom.
In this hands-on, project-based course students explore problems of college teaching and learning through a past, present, and future lens. The full ecosystem of the college campus is surveyed, rather than limiting problems of college teaching and learning to the traditional, face-to-face classroom. Students will investigate and design interventions for authentic pedagogical and learning problems within a variety of units on American college or university campuses. This course is appropriate for a broad audience of higher education professionals including those interested in student, faculty, and academic affairs, athletics, and higher education research.
Adjunct Assistant Professor and Instructor, Program in Higher & Post Secondary Education
Courses: Theories of Diversity in Higher Education, Observation and Fieldwork in Higher and Postsecondary Education, Internship Class.
Course Consultant, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Courses: Topics in Physics Research, Electricity and Magnetism, Advanced Physics Laboratory, Physics as a Foundation for Science and Engineering
Guest Lectures include Teachers College, Columbia University, MIT, the Julliard School, Harvard University, and The University of Texas at Austin.