DBER Seminars

klymkowsky and nobel laureate at dber related eventDBER is a weekly Seminar Series that emphasizes discipline-based STEM education research. It is a forum for faculty, staff, researchers, and students interested in education research and course transformation to share their ideas and get feedback on their work.

DBER is multi-disciplinary. These seminars bring together faculty and graduate students from roughly 45 different programs and departments across four schools/colleges. The average attendance is more than 20 people. In addition to being intellectually rich, these meetings also serve to create community among the many STEM education researchers on campus. All are welcome to attend.


For the Spring 2017 semester, DBER will be held on Wednesdays from 3-4 pm in Porter Bio B121.


For questions about DBER, to suggest a speaker, or to inquire about presenting yourself, please contact Andrew Martin @ andrew.martin-1@colorado.edu.


To receive notifications of DBER events and emails from the DBER community, you can:

Self-Subscribe online

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Request subscription via email by sending an email to: csl@colorado.edu


2017 Spring DBER Schedule:

Jan 18 Valerie Otero, Ian Her Many Horses, Laurie Langdon
(International Learning Assistant Alliance)
"Pre/Post Assessment Made Easy"
The Learning About STEM Student Outcomes (LASSO) System allows instructors to measure and analyze learning outcomes with the click of a button. The system administers the assessment (and associated consent forms) to students along with a short survey that will allow for disaggregation and analysis of the data. Instructors can download a spreadsheet with their courses results and they can also download analyzed results and graphs showing their learning gains and effect sizes. There are 11 assessments that have undergone application, evaluation, and validation in Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Physics. Participants will be introduced to the system and guided through the process of signing up their courses. We will also present some findings from studies done with increasing national data set.
Jan 25  
Feb 1 Jenny Knight (MCDB)
"Student reasoning and problem solving in genetics."
Can students transfer in-class group practices to individual assessment opportunities that require reasoning and logic? To find out, we have begun to study how students independently solve complex problems on genetics. We have conducted think-aloud interviews to capture the processes students use in problem solving, as well as performance data from online administration of the same problems. I will discuss both our strategy for measuring whether students improve at problem solving with practice, and for characterizing whether certain problem solving steps or strategies correlate with correct vs. incorrect answers. This work is preliminary, and I welcome your feedback throughout the presentation.
Feb 8 Bilge Birsoy (MCDB), Mike Klymkowsky (MCDB)

"Development of a Scientific and Experimental Literacy Assessment (SELA) Instrument"

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We have designed a new upper-division discovery-based laboratory course to increase some aspects of scientific and experimental literacy by providing "authentic scientific experiences" to engage students and increase their understanding of the process of science, core concepts in Molecular and Developmental Biology, experimental design and controls and get them to value science and its contributions to society.

I will begin with summarizing our discussion from my previous DBER presentation, about what it means to be scientifically literate. I will then move on to describe our approach to increase and assess scientific literacy, focusing initially on my observations of students' failure to retrieve or apply their content knowledge, failure to correctly justify their answers and their struggle to see the forest for the trees.


Feb 15 Mark Werner (ASSETT), Sarah Wise (EBIO), Andy Martin (EBIO)
"Shine Like an OPLE and be COPUS-etic with ASSETT’s VIP Service"
We can no longer afford to measure teaching by reviewing results from the faculty course questionnaire and an occasional peer observation. Good teachers—like experts in any endeavor—need more frequent input and feedback on their performance, time to reflect on it, and plans for improving their teaching. Arts and Sciences Support for Education Through Technology (ASSETT) has launched the Visualization of Instructional Practices (VIP) service to provide teachers with a method of input and feedback on their teaching. This service lets teachers choose a descriptive protocol that fits their situation. Examples include the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS), or the Observation Protocol for Learning Environments (OPLE). Students are then dispatched to their classrooms and use that protocol to record what they observe happening in the class. After several observations are conducted, the data are visualized and shared with the teachers. Consultants are available to meet with teachers to give them ideas for interpreting the results. In this presentation, we will help participants become familiar with the process we use in our VIP service. We will start by guiding participants in collecting COPUS observation data from a video clip of a teacher, and then we will visualize the data. We will facilitate a discussion on questions related to variability in observational data, limitations to consider, and useful applications. We will discuss differences between methods of providing feedback on teaching. We will also share about the ASSETT VIP service and how you can use it to gain formative input on your teaching practice.
Feb 22 Rebecca Machen (Program Coordinator, SASC)
"An Intervention for a High-Risk Course"
Precalculus (MATH-1150) will become the first course in CU’s STEM-major sequence starting Fall 2017, as College Algebra and Trigonometry will no longer be taught after Spring 2017. Data from the last ten years of instruction show that Precalculus has a DFW rate of a 31%, which designates it as a high-risk course. Since Precalculus is becoming the gateway course for many STEM majors, with yearly enrollments exceeding 700 students, the Math Department faculty decided to be proactive and support its students by implementing a supplemental course, MATH-1151. The 1-credit course was created in collaboration with the Student Academic Success Center and is designed with metacognitive activities built upon the Banks' Five Dimensions of Multicultural Education. At this presentation, I will share the course’s goals, structure, teaching pedagogy, results, and implications for future courses on campus.
Mar 1 Andrew Schtulman (Cognitive Science, Occidental College)
"Conceptual and epistemic obstacles to understanding science"  
Three decades of research in cognitive development and science education has revealed that students enter the science classroom with rich, though generally inaccurate, theories of everyday phenomena that often interfere with learning. I will present research suggesting that these “intuitive” theories are never truly replaced by scientific theories but rather coexist with them, shaping the kinds of inferences we make, the kinds of explanations we endorse, and the kinds of information we accept as true. While adults with extensive science education are typically able to discriminate between scientific and non-scientific claims, they are slower to make those discriminations for claims that are inconsistent with their intuitive theories, and they justify the endorsement of scientific claims by appealing to intuition and authority rather than theory and evidence. Our understanding of science may thus be constrained by patterns of reasoning that emerge in childhood but persist long thereafter.
Mar 8 DBER Group at large
"Student assessment of teaching: Part 2"  
There is a process underway to revise the FCQ tool; the pilot will run again in the spring...do we want to play a role in what happens? Do we want a better tool? We have some data that can serve as a launch pad for a productive discussion about the why, how and what of an authentic FCQ tool.
Mar 15 Rachael Deagman (English)
Mar 22 Jennifer Stempien (Earth Sciences)
Mar 29 Lisa Corwin (EBIO)
Apr 5 Rebecca Ciancanelli (SASC), Kathy Plath (SASC)
"Impact of metacognition coaching on academic success strategies of undergraduate students"  
Apr 12 Andrew Martin (EBIO)
"Quantitative models of teaching: Quantifying learning gains for disciplinary practices"  
We used a combination of observation, network analysis, and two-stage exams to estimate gains in a difficult to assess learning goal: "productively collaborate towards common goals": funded by Chancellor fellowship.
Apr 19  
Apr 26  
May 3  


Archive of Past DBER Seminars