Mini-Conference on Teaching

Evidence-Based Pedagogy: Teaching So Everyone Learns

The 9th Annual Academy of Teaching Mini-Conference on Excellence in Teaching

Friday, April 3, 2015 from 9 a.m.–2:45 p.m.
Jennings Hall

The Academy of Teaching invites you to attend our annual free mini-conference on excellence in teaching. Which practices help students learn in the classroom, and how do we know they work? Come together with teachers from across the campus community as we discuss evidence-based pedagogy. Sessions will describe successful implementations of evidence-based pedagogy, as well as concrete tools and techniques for gathering data on the effectiveness of your own pedagogical choices.


8:30–9:00 a.m. Registration
9:10–10:05 a.m.
The scientific approach to teaching: Research as a basis for course design
Eric Mazur
10:05–10:30 a.m. Break
10:30–10:45 a.m. Opening Remarks
Terrell Strayhorn and Joseph Kitchen, Center for Higher Education Enterprise
10:45–11:30 a.m. Building adaptive learning experiences into MOOCs
Jim Fowler, Professor, Department of Mathematics
11:30–12:15 p.m. The data in your classroom:
Gathering and using evidence to facilitate student learning
Teresa Johnson, Instructional Consultant, UCAT
Henry Griffy, Instructional Designer, ODEE
12:15-1 p.m. Lunch
Founder’s Award Presentation
1:15–2:45 p.m. Assessment for (not of) learning
Eric Mazur

Session Descriptions

The scientific approach to teaching: Research as a basis for course design

Time: 9:10–10:05 a.m.
Location: Jennings Hall 001
Keynote Speaker: Eric Mazur

Discussions of teaching — even some publications — abound with anecdotal evidence. Our intuition often supplants a systematic, scientific approach to finding out what works and what doesn’t work. Yet, research is increasingly demonstrating that our gut feelings about teaching are often wrong. In this talk I will discuss some research my group has done on gender issues in science courses and on the effectiveness of classroom demonstrations.

Building adapative learning experiences into MOOCs

Time: 10:45–11:30 a.m.
Location: MBI Auditorium, 3rd Floor Jennings Hall
Speaker: Jim Fowler

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have the potential to make education accessible to all, but at first blush, the price of “scaling up” is a disappointing decrease in personal attention.

The data in your classroom: Gathering and using evidence to facilitate student learning

Time: 11:30–12:15 p.m.
Location: MBI Auditorium, 3rd Floor Jennings Hall
Speakers: Teresa Johnson, UCAT and Henry Griffy, ODEE

How do you know if your students are learning what you want them to learn?  Teachers’ intuition is valuable, but adding data can provide a fuller, sometimes more accurate, picture and help identify what parts of your course are most and least effective.  Teresa Johnson and Henry Griffy will discuss how a variety of teaching tools enable faculty to conduct research on the impact of your course on student learning and engagement, based on actual work done by faculty with whom they have consulted.  Teresa will describe ways to build assessment and research into your course design, and Henry will describe specific ways to gather data by using free and OSU-provided tools.

Lunch & Founder’s Award Presentation

Time: 12:15–1 p.m.
Location: MBI Auditorium Foyer, 3rd Floor Jennings Hall

A complimentary lunch will be provided for all participants. We will present the annual Founder’s Award over our meal.

Assessment for (not of) learning

Time: 1:15–2:45 p.m.
Location: MBI Auditorium, 3rd Floor Jennings Hall
Speaker: Eric Mazur

Why is it that stellar students sometimes fail in the workplace while dropouts succeed? One reason is that most, if not all, of our current assessment practices are inauthentic. Just as the lecture focuses on the delivery of information to students, so does assessment often focus on having students regurgitate that same information back to the instructor. Consequently, assessment fails to focus on the skills that are relevant in life in the 21st century. Assessment has been called the “hidden curriculum” as it is an important driver of students’ study habits. Unless we rethink our approach to assessment, it will be very difficult to produce a meaningful change in education.


Eriz Mazur

Eric Mazur is the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University and Area Dean of Applied Physics. An internationally recognized scientist and researcher, he leads a vigorous research program in optical physics and supervises one of the the largest research groups in the Physics Department at Harvard University.

In addition to his work in optical physics, Dr. Mazur is interested in education, science policy, outreach, and the public perception of science. He believes that better science education for all — not just science majors — is vital for continued scientific progress. To this end, Dr. Mazur devotes part of his research group’s effort to education research and finding verifiable ways to improve science education. In 1990 he began developing Peer Instruction a method for teaching large lecture classes interactively. Dr. Mazur’s teaching method has developed a large following, both nationally and internationally, and has been adopted across many science disciplines.

Jim Fowler
Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics

Jim Fowler is an assistant professor in the mathematics department here at The Ohio State University. His research interests broadly include geometry and topology, and more specifically focus on the topology of high-dimensional manifolds and geometric group theory. In other words, he thinks in depth about highly symmetric geometric objects. He’s fond of using computational techniques to attack problems in pure mathematics. Prior to working at The Ohio State University, he received an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Henry Griffy
Grants Coordinator, Digital Scholarship, Office of Distance Education and eLearning

Henry Griffy has helped support faculty use of and research into elearning tools since 2012 by coordinating ODEE’s grants program, supported by funding from WOW! Cable & Internet. Projects have included development of an online peer-review system for student poster sessions, introduction of HyFlex course delivery, and development of online courses. Previously he worked in the OSU Libraries on a range of projects, including the establishment of their online journal platform and dossier management in OSU:pro. He earned his Ph.D. in English from Ohio State with a dissertation on the medieval Robin Hood tradition, his M.A. from the University of Oklahoma and his B.A. from the University of Delaware.  His research interests currently center on the impacts of digital communication on teaching and learning, but include several aspects of culture before and after the hegemony of print.

Teresa Johnson
Instructional Consultant and Coordinator for Assessment and Curriculum Design, UCAT

Teresa A. Johnson, Ph.D. is an instructional consultant and the Coordinator for Assessment and Curriculum Design at the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching. She earned a doctorate in Microbial Ecology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has taught in the sciences at Butler University and at the College of Wooster. Her pedagogical research has focused on classroom assessment techniques and impacts of prior knowledge on student learning in the sciences. Her current interests are course and curriculum design, articulation of learning outcomes, and evaluation of teaching strategies.

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