Date: June 3 - 7, 2012
Location: Univeristy of St. Thomas, Minnesota 2115 Summit Avenue St. Paul, Minnesota 55105, USA
On Tuesday, June 5, in the late afternoon and evening, the Transit of Venus 2012 will occur. While you are attending the conference, you will be able to veiw this event at the University of Minnesota. For additional information and to view a scheduled of events for this stellar event can be found at Venus Transit.
This conference will bring together researchers in undergraduate mathematics, physics, and chemistry education to transform and integrate research across disciplines. In addition to plenary sessions there will be poster sessions, working groups to interact and plan with new colleagues, and interactive free time. This is your chance to be part of an emerging community of scholars collaborating across disciplinary lines!
This conference is generously sponsored by the National Science Foundation through grants DUE-CCLI # 0941515 and 0941191.
Dr. Myles Boylan, Program Director, National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate Education
Dr. David Bressoud, Macalester College, Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Science
Dr. Stacey Lowery Bretz, Miami University, Ohio, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. Melanie Cooper, Clemson University, Dept. of Chemistry
Dr. Melissa Dancy, University of Colorado-Boulder, Dept. of Physics
Dr. Noah Finkelstein, Univeristy of Boulder, Colorado, Dept. of Physics
Dr. Mike Klymkowsky, University of Colorado-Boulder, Dept. of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Dr. Vilma Mesa, University of Michigan, School of Education
Dr. Joe Redish, University of Maryland, Dept. of Physics
Dr. Finbarr Sloane, Arizona State University, Educational Leadership and Innovation
Dr. Keith Weber, Rutgers University, Graduate School of Education
Dr. Michael Wittmann, University of Maine, Dept. of Physics
Dr. Michelle Zandieh, Arizona State University, Dept. of Applied Sciences & Mathematics
Dr. David Bressoud, Macalester College,
Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Science
In the fall term of 2010, the Mathematical Association of America
undertook a large-scale survey of instruction of mainstream Calculus I in two-
and four-year undergraduate programs. The surveys of course coordinators,
instructors, and students involved 168 colleges and universities, 660
instructors representing almost 900 Calculus I classes, and 34,000 students,
12,000 of whom answered the initial student survey. This will be a preliminary
report of some of the findings.
Dr. Stacey Lowery Bretz, Miami University, Ohio,
Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The National Science Foundation has funded a synthesis study on the status, contributions, and future direction of discipline-based education research (DBER) in physics, biological sciences, geosciences, and chemistry. DBER combines knowledge of teaching and learning with deep knowledge of discipline-specific science content. It describes the discipline-specific difficulties learners face and the specialized intellectual and instructional resources that can facilitate student understanding. The committee was charged to investigate questions essential to advancing DBER and broadening its impact on undergraduate science teaching and learning, synthesize empirical research on undergraduate teaching and learning in the science, explore the extent to which this research currently influences undergraduate instruction, and identify the intellectual and material resources required to further develop DBER. This presentation will discuss the consensus report and its guidance for future DBER research.
Dr. Melanie Cooper, Clemson University,
Dept. of Chemistry
BeSocratic, is a web-based formative assessment system
that can recognize and respond to free-form student input in the form of
representations including graphs, simple diagrams, chemical structures. It
consists of three components: an interface on which students can draw, input
text and some gestures (on an iPad or touchscreen computer), an authoring tool
for development of activities, and a set of analysis tools that allow
researchers to mine student response data. A range of BeSocratic activities
will be discussed in the context of curriculum reform efforts to improve student
understanding of core concepts, the development of representational competence,
and the ability to answer questions scientifically. Results of implementation
efforts and visualizations of student performance data will be
Dr. Melissa Dancy, University of Colorado-Boulder,
Dept. of Physics
We have engaged in multiple projects over many years designed to
understand how and why research-based teaching innovations have had limited
impact on mainstream college level teaching. We have found substantial
evidence that the typical “dissemination” model of change has been effective at
increasing knowledge of innovations and motivation to change among individual
faculty, but fails as an overall educational transformation model because it
does not account for the complexity of change. Specifically, it fails to
acknowledge the often substantial environmental barriers to change, it fails to
support the ongoing, organic, often difficult nature of real change, and it does
not recognize the importance of and subsequently utilize social dynamics in the
change process. In this talk we will summarize our findings, as well as
others, and offer recommendations for bringing about impactful and sustained
educational transformation through a more robust change model.
Dr. Noah Finkelstein, University of Colorado-Boulder,
Dept. of Physics
Currently, unprecedented national attention is now being paid to
the outcomes of and needs for Discipline-Based Education Research. After
framing the national scale scene of physics education, and how physics education
research (PER) is positioned to contribute to the national dialog, I will review
the growth of our own program at CU, and particularly my own research that
examines several of the critical scales of focus in physics education.
This work develops a new theoretical line of inquiry in PER through
experimental work on student reasoning in physics at the individual, the course,
and the departmental scales. I will present samples of these scales reviewing:
course transformation at the introductory to advanced level in physics,
research on how subtle faculty choices that influence the impacts of these
course transformations, and the development of a framework for understanding
(and effecting?) sustained change in undergraduate STEM Education.
Dr. Mike Klymkowsky, University of Colorado-Boulder,
Dept. of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Disciplinary mastery is critical, not only for scientists, but for effective K12 teachers. Unfortunately, many undergraduate science degree programs fall short of this goal. Moreover, intentionally or not, many serve to discourage rather than encourage students to pursue an understanding of science. A necessary step toward improving science literacy and mastery, as well as K12 science education, is a careful examination and (where necessary) the redesign of degree programs, courses, and course materials. This involves the generation of coherent curricula based on a critical reflection of the importance, scope of applicability, inherent difficulty of the materials presented, the order of their presentation, and how they are reinforced and mastered. Together with my colleagues, I have been working on these issues. These projects, Biofundamentals (1), Chemistry, Life, the Universe and Everything (CLUE) with Melanie Cooper)(2), and Calculus, Stochastics, and Modeling (CSM) developed by Eric Stade, will be described. They use a range of strategies, including socially-interactive web text and graphic (BeSocratic) formative assessments to present foundational concepts in biology, chemistry, and mathematics. I describe systems by which to specify a curriculum’s scope and resolution and to visualize the effects of instruction on student thinking.
Dr. Vilma Mesa, University of Michigan,
School of Education
Vilma Mesa and the Teaching Mathematics in Community Colleges Research Group at the U-Michigan:
Community colleges can play a significant role as a pathway to
STEM fields, because of their open access policies. Community colleges educate
about 50% of all undergraduates in the U.S. and nearly 49% of all undergraduate
mathematics students at U.S. colleges and universities. These institutions
fulfill five functions: (1) academic transfer preparation, (2) terminal
vocational certification, (3) general education leading to an associate’s
degree, (4) community education, and (5) re-training of workers for a changing
economy. National attention on community colleges has increased thanks to the
rising costs of higher education and to President Obama’s emphasis on college
enrollment and graduation. This context provides us with an excellent setting to
investigate instruction, in particular the reasons teachers have to conduct
instruction in the ways they do. Using the idea of a breaching experiment, and
modeling instructional situations with animated characters, we investigate how
faculty respond to breaches of the norms that regulate their classrooms and test
hypothesis about the conditions in which suggestions for reforming teaching can
work. In this talk I will illustrate how we use the animations with faculty,
what have we gained with this methodology, and preliminary results regarding
differences between part-time and full-time faculty.
Dr. Joe Redish, University of Maryland,
Dept. of Physics
While our majors are important, the primary teaching in most STEM departments
are for students in other STEM disciplines. Chemistry teaches classes for
biologists, mathematicians teach everyone, and physicists teach physics for
pre-meds and biologists, chemists, and engineers. Traditionally, we each deliver
these service courses firmly footed in our own disciplines, and each course
reflects what we see as what's important to learn, rather than what our clients
might find valuable. Conversations with faculty in the departments we serve tend
to be limited and often have little impact on our instruction. Recently, I have
been interacting extensively with biologists, chemists, and mathematicians in
HHMI's Project NEXUS to begin to create a new undergraduate science program for
pre-meds and biologists that reflects development of appropriate content,
skills, and competencies.* These interdisciplinary conversations have been
eye-opening - and sometimes startling. Different STEM disciplines
epistemologically frame introductory university science instruction differently.
These diverse goals and approaches make it difficult for students taking courses
in many STEM departments to make the connections between what they are learning
in different classes. In this talk, I will discuss some of the things I have
learned, some of our successes and failures, and what we have learned about our
students' responses to interdisciplinary STEM teaching and learning.
* Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians (AAMC, 2009). (pdf);
NEXUS UMCP [http://umdberg.pbworks.com/w/page/44091483/Project%20NEXUS%20UMCP
Dr. Finbarr Sloane, Arizona State University,
Educational Leadership and Innovation
In this paper, I present a model for developing and validating measures of students’ mathematical knowledge and how it develops over time. I then present a framework for understanding and testing student development qualitatively and statistically. Data are drawn from students in inner city settings and contrasted with national norms. Next, the individual growth that occurs within the sampled classrooms is considered. Finally, between-classroom models of this development are generated and examined.
The paper highlights modern tools for examining individual growth curves. The initial examination of data is conducted graphically and then related to qualitative interviews of students as a check of the validity of the posited growth trajectories and the quantification processes. When the validation checks are in place the modeling of the data begins in earnest. The intertwining roles of theory are data examined throughout the modeling process.
Dr. Keith Weber, Rutgers University,
Graduate School of Education
In undergraduate science and mathematics courses, students spend a
substantial amount of time reading arguments that support facts and theories.
Yet research suggests that students often learn little from reading these
arguments. In this presentation, I address three questions about students’
reading of mathematical proof, the primary genre of argumentation used in
undergraduates’ mathematics classes: (1) What does it mean to understand a proof
and how can this understanding be assessed? (2) What strategies should students
use when reading a proof to facilitate comprehension? (3) What do students
perceive their role and responsibility to be when reading a proof? These
questions are addressed using qualitative and quantitative data. Initially
task-based interviews with students and interviews with mathematicians were used
to generate hypotheses about what students should do, but do not do, when
reading a proof. A survey was then used to demonstrate statistically reliable
differences in mathematics majors’ approaches to proof reading and the
approaches that mathematicians would like them to take. Although the results of
this study might not generalize to the STEM disciplines, it is hoped that the
questions and research methods described in this presentation may be useful to
other science educators.
Dr. Michael Wittmann, University of Maine,
Dept. of Physics
How we listen to our students is often determined by what we want to know. In this talk, I will describe several ongoing projects at the University of Maine, each dedicated to a particular perspective on how to listen to students and teachers in the classroom. In one project, we ask sets of seemingly identical questions to gather a richer picture of an introductory physics class's content understanding of a given topic. In another study, we carefully listen for the words that sophomore level mechanics students use as they solve problems while working in groups. Particular words indicate their expectations about the practices of doing physics. In a third project, we are watching teachers in a middle school physical science classroom interact with new materials that ask that they pay attention to the disciplinary substance of their students' thinking in new ways, balancing both content knowledge and scientific practices. In each situation, we use the lens of epistemological framing to make sense of our observations. We apply our approach not just to students and teachers but also to our own work as researchers.
Dr. Michelle Zandieh, Arizona State University,
Dept. of Applied Sciences & Mathematics
A segment of my research over the past 15 years has focused on the use of the tools of cognitive linguistics to describe and explain student thinking. This work encompasses student understanding of particular mathematical concepts such as function, derivative and linear transformation, as well as students engaging in the practices of the discipline of mathematics such as defining and proving. In this presentation I will provide three examples of work my colleagues and I have done that illustrate a range of results using these tools. (1) The use of conceptual metaphor and metonymy to describe what the mathematical community means by derivative at the freshman calculus level, while also giving us a way to measure student understanding in comparison with this structure. (2) The use of conceptual blending to describe the evolution of student thinking as they engage in the mathematical practice of proving. This practice includes the creation of key ideas for the proof as well as the structuring of a mathematical argument. (3) The use of conceptual metaphor and conceptual blending to understand how students determine whether, or to what extent, two mathematical constructs are the same or different.
Warren Christensen, NDSU; Karen Marrongelle, OSU; Sam Pazicni, UNH
John Thompson, U. Maine; Joe Wagner, Xavier U.; Tom Wemyss, U. Maine
François Amar, U. Maine; Ricardo Nemirovsky, SDSU; Mitchell Bruce, U. Maine;
Michael Wittmann, U. Maine; Tom Wemyss, U. Maine
Danielle, Champney, UC Berkeley; Eric Kuo, U. Maryland, College Park; Angie Little, UC Berkeley
Poster Session #1 - Monday, June 4, 8:00 PM
Odd numbers at your poster 8:00-8:45 PM
Even numbers at your poster 8:45-9:30 PM
For full abstract listing of Poster Session #1, click here.
Poster Session #2 - Wednesday, June 6, 8:00 PM
Odd numbers at your poster 8:00-8:45 PM
Even numbers at your poster 8:45-9:30 PM
For full abstract listing of Poster Session #2, click here.