Texas Tech University

Discipline-based Education Research

DBER logo

The seminar is coordinated by Dr. Beth Thacker, Associate Professor of Physics, and has moved online due to COVID-19. To join this seminar, please join the discussion on ZOOM. Instead of updating the topic here weekly, please email Dr. Beth Thacker for updated topics. 

Current Seminar Meetings

Date: Monday, March 9
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Location: Holden Hall, Room 56
Presenter: Ryan Campbell, PhD
Topic:

More than a Dream: The Developing Reflective Engineers through Artful Methods (DREAM) Project

Abstract:

In this talk, I will introduce an interdisciplinary project known as Developing Reflective Engineers through Artful Methods. The DREAM project, as we affectionately call it, began under an internal seed grant and is now supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through its Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program. DREAM is a collaborative effort at Texas Tech University involving faculty and staff in engineering, education, cognitive psychology, studio art, media/communication, and the museum. The objectives of our project are to (1) develop an innovative, transformative pedagogy and curriculum for graduate engineering education that incorporates the arts and humanities, (2) assess and evaluate its effects, and (3) disseminate our findings, experiences, and materials. DREAM fosters the holistic development of engineering students through distinctive approaches to cultivating reflective habits and critical thinking essential for engineering practice today. We strive to improve students' understandings of the implications of their work, especially ethical, socioeconomic, and sustainability challenges, using methods seldom found in engineering curricula. To do this, we employ the arts and humanities as well as group-discussion and reflective writing to help engineers become more appreciative of and better equipped to deal with uncertainty, and to better address poorly defined, under-constrained sociotechnical engineering problems. One example of an approach we employ is Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), a technique originally created for museum contexts that uses visual art to develop observational skills, critical thinking, and communication skills. In this talk, I will provide an overview of our work, discuss some of our approaches, and present a selection of our findings and experiences to date.

Click here to return to the STEM Seminar Listing Page

Previous Seminar Meetings

Date: Monday, March 2
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Jianlan Wang
Topic:

Causality in educational research

ABSTRACT:

Transforming ineffective educational practice is one common goal of educational research. A considerable amount of empirical studies are aimed to test the efficacy of an educational intervention, such as flipped class, on a learning outcome, such as students' conceptual understanding. Researchers attempt to build a causal relationship between intervention and outcome but are very cautious in using words indicating causality like “cause” and “lead to”. The question becomes what research design or method is more advantageous in detecting causality. In this seminar, I will start with the framework of causality, then qualitatively introduce three candidate methods of (quasi) experimental study, single subject/case research, and cross-lagged panel model, and finally discuss other possible methods

Date: Monday, February 24
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Levi Johnson and Jerry Dwyer
Topic:

Effective Faculty Incentives for Bringing High Impact Undergraduate Educational Experiences to Scale

ABSTRACT:

In a previous DBER Seminar meeting, there was general consensus that there are experiences and strategies that can be incorporated to enhance the quality of an undergraduate STEM degree. There were, however, serious concerns about whether what is good for our students is of any tangible benefit to the faculty needed for the work. Jerry Dwyer and Levi Johnson would like to lead a follow-up discussion focusing on parallels between an effort to enhance recognition of innovations in undergraduate education with previous work to enhance recognition for scholarly outreach.

Date: Monday, February 17
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Leslie Cremeans
Topic:

Diffusion of Education Innovations: A Collective Case Study of the Perceptions of STEM Department Chairs

ABSTRACT:

The projected growth of STEM occupations in the US is a major concern for UG STEM education (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). Two of the major concerns for UG STEM education are retention and gender balance across STEM disciplines. In this study, I review the literature on three main areas, which are (a) educational innovations in undergraduate STEM, (b) roles and responsibilities of department chairs, and (c) the culture and policies of STEM academic departments. The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the perceptions of department chairs on the diffusion of educational innovations and departmental value of teaching in STEM degree fields. This study will use Everett Rogers Diffusion of Innovations theoretical framework to explore how organizational and communication structures of academic departments impact diffusion and pedagogical values in STEM departments.

Date: Monday, February 10
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Boker Agile
Topic:

Impact of Problem-Solving Session on STEM Majors

ABSTRACT:

In this presentation, the impact of a problem-solving session on STEM majors is discussed. In the Fall 2019 class of ECE 3301 General Electrical Engineering for non-majors, we added an extra optional hour on a weekly basis to work on problem solving. This problem-solving session was able to give students a hands-on experience of real world and exam problems. The results presented compare the section with problem-solving to sections of the same class where no help sessions were administered. The optional session results show the impact of the problem-solving session on STEM majors.

Date: Monday, February 3
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Michael Herkommer
Topic:

Educational Augmented Reality: Interactive Magnetic Field Visualization

ABSTRACT:

We discuss a project to compare improvements in student understanding between a three-dimensional augmented reality visualization and the traditional two-dimensional visualization.

Date: Thursday, January 16
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 153
Presenter: Levi Johnson
Topic:

Identifying and scaling high impact practices in STEM undergraduate education

Abstract:

The Association of American Colleges & Universities characterizes high impact educational practices (HIPs) as a collection of strategies that have been widely tested and shown to be beneficial for undergraduate students from many backgrounds. I've linked to a document listing a sample of these practices below. Provost Galyean has called for TTU to develop enhancements to current undergraduate curricula such that every student will engage in at least one “transformational learning experience” before graduation by 2025. I would like to lead a discussion examining what these practices do/should look like in STEM-major courses and solicit input on how TTU might go about scaling them to reach every STEM major.

Date: Thursday, November 22
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Discussion
Topic:

Discussion of Statistics on Categorical Data and Statistics in DBER in general

Date: Thursday, November 14
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Dr. Jianlan Wang
Topic:

Mysterious approximation in mathematical deduction

Abstract: Mathematical deduction plays an important role in science education, especially upper level physics education. In many cases, approximation is used to ease the calculation, such as Taylor expansion and Fourier series. Similarly, there are different equations to calculate pooled standard deviation for Cohen's d. Sometimes, those approximations or equations seem to be too "creative" that come from nowhere, which becomes a barrier to student learning. When is an approximation valid? How many items in the polynomial of Taylor series should we consider? When do we minus 2 in the denominator while calculating pooled SD? How should math/science educators teach students about approximation, simply accepting and memorizing it? In this seminar, I will lead the discussion about this topic.
Date: Thursday, November 7
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Dr. Jerry Dwyer
Topic:

STEM: Integrated or Not?

Abstract: The acronym STEM is formed from the initials of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The term has become associated with an integrated approach to the teaching of these individual subject areas and has become wildly popular as a catch-all term for many interdisciplinary research and teaching collaboratives. We question whether this approach has gone overboard and whether we may have lost some of the focus needed to concentrate on the individual subjects. Is there merit in focusing on a single subject in isolation? What is lost if we try to incorporate all the disciplines into one single approach?
Date: Thursday, October 31
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Dr. Nate Imai
Topic:

Making Connections

Abstract: How can architectural design be a model for interdisciplinary thinking? Likewise, how can an interdisciplinary approach generate novel architectural design? This talk will explore the relationship between interdisciplinary principles and architecture through Nate Imai's design research and teaching. Projects drawing upon lessons from thermodynamics, the internet of things, and digital fabrication will frame architecture's potential to form integrated connections through the act of making. 
Date: Thursday, October 17
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 153
Presenter: Fatema Al-Salmani, Physics Education Research (PER) graduate student
Topic:

A Rubric for Assessing Thinking Skills in Free-Response Exam Problems

Abstract:

We designed a rubric to assess free-response exam problems in order to compare thinking skills evidenced in exams in classes taught by different pedagogies. The rubric was designed based on Bloom's taxonomy. The rubric was then used to code exam problems. We analyzed exams from different sections of the algebra-based physics course taught the same semester by the same instructor with different pedagogies. One section was inquiry-based and the other was taught traditionally. We discuss the instrument, present results and present plans for future research. The inquiry-based students demonstrated all of the thinking skills coded more often than the traditional students.

Date: Thursday, October 10
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 153
Presenter: Dr. Ken Griffith
Topic:

A continuation of the seminar last week: STEP Learning Assistants Program: Emulating without Replicating

Abstract: The concept and implementation of undergraduate learning assistants is not novel. Faculty at The University of Colorado at Boulder have been publishing the results of their programs since early 2000. With these publications and the subsequent formation of the Learning Assistant Alliance, many institutions across the United States have embraced this effective pedagogy. That said, these groups stress the importance of emulating their design, instead of attempting to replicate it. This semester, the TLPDC's STEP Program has launched a pilot Learning Assistant Program in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Join us for a discussion on the current status of the program and hear how we have taken CU Boulder's idea and are making it work at Texas Tech.
Date: Thursday, October 3
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 153
Presenter: Dr. Ken Griffith
Topic:

STEP Learning Assistants Program: Emulating without Replicating

Abstract: The concept and implementation of undergraduate learning assistants is not novel. Faculty at The University of Colorado at Boulder have been publishing the results of their programs since early 2000. With these publications and the subsequent formation of the Learning Assistant Alliance, many institutions across the United States have embraced this effective pedagogy. That said, these groups stress the importance of emulating their design, instead of attempting to replicate it. This semester, the TLPDC's STEP Program has launched a pilot Learning Assistant Program in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Join us for a discussion on the current status of the program and hear how we have taken CU Boulder's idea and are making it work at Texas Tech.
Date: Thursday, September 26
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Beth Thacker
Topic:

Assessing Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK)

Date: Thursday, September 19
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Ryan C. Campbell, Ph.D.
Topic:

An Overview of the "Developing Reflective Engineers through Artful Methods" (DREAM) Project

Abstract: Dr. Campbell will discuss assessment methods being used to explore reflective thinking and some of the possible influences of educational strategies/techniques that explicitly incorporate the arts and humanities.
Date: Thursday, September 12
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Ryan C. Campbell, Ph.D.
Topic:

An Overview of the "Developing Reflective Engineers through Artful Methods" (DREAM) Project

Abstract: In this talk, I will provide an overview of “Developing Reflective Engineers through Artful Methods” (DREAM), an interdisciplinary project that began under a university seed grant and is now supported by the National Science Foundation through its Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program. DREAM is a collaborative effort headed by Danny Reible (Environmental & Chemical Engineering) and co-PI's Ryan Campbell (Engineering Education Research), Jeong-Hee Kim (Curriculum Studies & Teacher Education), Roman Taraban (Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience), and Chong Na (Environmental Engineering), with gracious support from Sangmi Yoo in the School of Art and Jill Hoffman in the Museum of Texas Tech. The purpose of our project is to develop an innovative, transformative pedagogy and curriculum that incorporates the arts and humanities into graduate engineering education and to assess its effects.
Date: Thursday, September 5
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Open Discussion
Topic: Researching, evaluating, and assessing Learning Assistants.
Date: Thursday, August 29
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Group Discussion
Topic: What we did over the summer.
Date: Thursday, May 2
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Group Discussion
Topic: Wrap up of this past year and a look toward the future.
Date: Thursday, April 25
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Jianlan Wang
Topic: Continuation of last weeks discussion on effective student interaction and a discussion of assessing students' thinking processes through student interviews and videotaped group discussions.
Abstract: From a social-constructivist perspective, the quality of student interaction is a key indicator of learning outcomes. It is particularly critical to student-centered studio-oriented instruction. What is effective student interaction? Pedagogically, how can we scaffold productive student interaction? In this seminar, I will lead the discussion about the two questions. For Question 1, we will discuss argumentation as one specific type of student interaction. For Question 2, we will discuss two dimensions of group setting, i.e. synchronous/asynchronous groups and heterogeneous/homogeneous groups, in light of the dual-space model, engagement framework, and the theory of community of inquiry.
Date: Thursday, April 18
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Jianlan Wang
Topic: 1+1=?
Abstract: From a social-constructivist perspective, the quality of student interaction is a key indicator of learning outcomes. It is particularly critical to student-centered studio-oriented instruction. What is effective student interaction? Pedagogically, how can we scaffold productive student interaction? In this seminar, I will lead the discussion about the two questions. For Question 1, we will discuss argumentation as one specific type of student interaction. For Question 2, we will discuss two dimensions of group setting, i.e. synchronous/asynchronous groups and heterogeneous/homogeneous groups, in light of the dual-space model, engagement framework, and the theory of community of inquiry.
Date: Thursday, April 11
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Open discussion
Topic: 1)grants and grant writing and 2)collaborating with traditional researchers on interdisciplinary research across forefront research and forefront discipline-based education research
Date: Thursday, April 4
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Ken Griffith
Topic: Continuation of last week's discussion on Learning Assistants
Date: Thursday, March 28
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Ken Griffith
Topic: Improving STEM Student Persistence and Success through TLPDC-STEP Program Learning Assistants
Abstract: Multiple sources highlight the first two years of undergraduate education as crucial to student success in STEM disciplines. Students' exposure to specific courses and how faculty members facilitate learning, likely play a major role in student persistence. Research from the past twenty years demonstrates that the most common factors impacting student persistence include poor teaching, poor student performance, inadequate advising, “gate-keeping”, loss of interest, class size, and poor classroom climate. As student enrollment continues to rise, class size and instructional climate become increasingly challenging. To address these challenges and positively impact our students' learning, the TLPDC's STEP Program is introducing an Undergraduate Learning Assistant Program, modeled from the successful program at the University of Colorado Boulder. During this week's DBER session, we will discuss ways to optimize the UC Boulder model for success at Texas Tech.
Date: Thursday, March 21
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Group Discussion
Topic: How to discuss DBER with traditional scientists?
Abstract: How do you explain what DBERs do? Why should the field be in the discipline and not in education? Why should it be a degree in the discipline? What are common attitudes and arguments for and against DBER? And similar questions...
Date: Thursday, Feb 14
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Beth Thacker
Topic: Using Conceptual Inventories to Assess PCK of TAs and Instructors (Pt. 2)
Abstract: I will present on a Workshop I attended at the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) national meeting recently where the presenter discussed a set of tasks using conceptual inventories to teach and assess Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) to teaching assistants (TAs) and instructors. We will explore some tasks and discuss. I will present what I learned and references.
Date: Thursday, Feb 7
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Beth Thacker
Topic: Using Conceptual Inventories to Assess PCK of TAs and Instructors
Abstract: I will present on a Workshop I attended at the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) national meeting recently where the presenter discussed a set of tasks using conceptual inventories to teach and assess Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) to teaching assistants (TAs) and instructors. We will explore some tasks and discuss. I will present what I learned and references.
Date: Thursday, January 31
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Jianlan Wang
Topic: Unveil the myth of scientific reasoning
Abstract: The importance of scientific reasoning or thinking is widely accepted. In addition, people believe that STEM are the righteous subjects for the training of students' scientific reasoning. However, the concept of scientific reasoning is often loosely defined as a hybrid of deduction, causality, logic, critical thinking, etc. What reasoning skills are STEM subjects targeting? How are those skills trained in STEM? Are those skills content specific or content free? How are those skills measured? In this seminar, I will lead a discussion about scientific reasoning with examples in psychology and physics.
Date: Thursday, January 24
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC 152
Presenter: Jianlan Wang
Topic: Unveil the myth of scientific reasoning
Abstract: The importance of scientific reasoning or thinking is widely accepted. In addition, people believe that STEM are the righteous subjects for the training of students' scientific reasoning. However, the concept of scientific reasoning is often loosely defined as a hybrid of deduction, causality, logic, critical thinking, etc. What reasoning skills are STEM subjects targeting? How are those skills trained in STEM? Are those skills content specific or content free? How are those skills measured? In this seminar, I will lead a discussion about scientific reasoning with examples in psychology and physics.