Education ForumScience Education

Anatomy of STEM teaching in North American universities

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Science  30 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6383, pp. 1468-1470
DOI: 10.1126/science.aap8892

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  • RE: Anatomy of STEM teaching in North American universities

    The discussion of the status of “STEM Teaching in North America” misses a crucial issue. As one who has avidly employed a variety of active learning approaches* in my chemistry courses (large and small, introductory and advanced, in amphitheater and mobile desk settings), I think that the greatest impediment is the textbooks. Irrespective of class size, classroom format, and level of material, I have only been able to dispense with lectures when the reading materials are of high quality and align well with my curriculum. To secure this, I have been fortunate in being able to obtain (appropriately qualified) permission to rearrange and annotate the textbooks that I have chosen. My point is that publishers need to be partners in reforming STEM teaching. Their textbooks are not only too expensive, but also too one-size-fits-all. With digital products, we should be able to serve our students better. At the very least, faculty should be able to rearrange the materials and annotate them.

    * Including: The “Question Formulation Technique” to prepare for assigned reading (http://rightquestion.org/make-just-one-change/); online discussion of assigned reading (https://perusall.com); “Peer Instruction” for in-class deliberations (http://www.peerinstruction.net); and “Visual Thinking Strategies” for close examination of equations and f...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.