The Center for Teaching and Learning is excited to host Alexander Kotelsky, a doctoral student in Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Rochester, as part of the CIRTL Network Exchange Program.* Alexander will discuss the challenges and opportunities for improvement of learning in a novel dual-workshop approach to promote active learning in upper level biomedical engineering classes.
Recent studies have demonstrated that active learning increases examination scores, whereas the absence of active learning leads to higher failure rates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) classes. Alexander Kotelsky and colleagues focused on the design of workshops for upper level biomedical engineering classes (“Biosolid Mechanics” and “Viscoelasticity of Biological Tissues”) offered at University of Rochester. A novel approach was used where two types of workshops were alternated: one promoting convergent thinking by providing students with challenging problems that have set answers and another requiring students to construct their own problem set, thus promoting divergent thinking. The overall goal of the project was to establish the framework of this dual approach and begin the process of optimizing its implementation. Data collected enabled comparison between the types of workshop with regard to performance, level of engagement, confidence in material and overall satisfaction.
*In 2016, Columbia University joined the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL). The CIRTL Network promotes the development of a national faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) committed to implementing and advancing effective teaching practices for diverse student audiences as part of their professional careers.
The CIRTL Network Exchange Program is a two- to three-day visit to a host campus within the 43 institutions of the nationwide CIRTL Network. This program is designed to give graduate students and post docs the opportunity to give a Teaching-as-Research colloquium and interact with disciplinary colleagues at the CIRTL Network institution. Participants also have the opportunity to practice professional skills before entering the job market.