Published: April 19, 2018
Melanie Cooper speaks to a group of Faculty Fellows seated around a large table

Instructors frequently grapple with questions about the impact of their teaching: What are students learning? And how well can they apply their new knowledge and skills outside the classroom? These perennial concerns are the focus of the Three-Dimensional Learning Assessment Protocol (3D-LAP) presented to the Faculty Fellows during a recent workshop co-sponsored by DBER and ASSETT.

The workshop was led by Melanie Cooper, Lappan-Phillips Chair of Science Education at Michigan State University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. The 3D-LAP was developed by Dr. Cooper and several MSU colleagues to assess students’ mastery of the three dimensions of science education identified by the National Research Council: scientific practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas. The fellows discussed how this model could be adapted for disciplines outside the sciences and how they could implement it in their own departments to assess the impact of pedagogical transformations on student learning outcomes.

“One important outcome of the workshop with the Faculty Fellows was the discovery that all of the essential disciplinary practices described and identified by scientists were applicable across the humanities and social sciences,” noted Andy Martin, Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and ASSETT’s Faculty Advisor. “This was a surprise to Dr. Cooper and underscored that we are all interested in advancing students' critical thinking skills using a core set of practices. This discovery suggests we could build strong bridges across disciplines that would strengthen the core liberal arts mission of the College of Arts and Sciences.”

In addition to the presentation to the Faculty Fellows, Dr. Cooper also conducted a workshop with the Physics Education Group and Learning Assistance Program during her brief visit to CU Boulder.