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Scientists Teaching Science(Online Summer Course)

Scientists Teaching Science(Online Summer Course)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - Monday, August 25, 2014

The New York Academy of Sciences


Are you interested in teaching, but your students doze off during your lectures? Do they have a hard time answering the questions you ask? Do you find yourself wondering if there’s a different way of teaching science than just talking to them and showing them slides and illustrations? How can you tell if your students really understand the information or have memorized vocabulary terms? Take the online course “Scientists Teaching Science” and learn about active vs. passive learning, creating course objectives and test items, and finding ways to improve your teaching and assessment techniques for students of all ages.

Come practice with your peers under the instruction of a national award-winning science educator and author. There are no mandatory class meetings, and you can access the course on your phone. One-on-one engagement, personal review of written assignments, and personalized advice on teaching is guaranteed! The time needed to complete all readings and activities is estimated to be no more than 3 hours a week. All participants who complete the course requirements will be eligible for a personal letter of recommendation from the instructor about teaching preparation for future employment. Participants who complete the course requirements will also receive a certificate of completion from the New York Academy of Sciences.

Select Testimonials from participants in Scientists Teaching Science

“The Scientists Teaching Science course was so enlightening in how lectures should actually be taught! The traditional method of teaching solely through lecturing to a class does not establish a strong foundation of knowledge that will last long after the course is over. The STS course teaches methods that involve active learning, which is far more sustainable than the traditional teaching methods. With this eras information overload, adjustments in teaching strategies are crucial to keep the attention of students and to deeply engrain the knowledge for future courses. Since taking the STS course, I've been implementing active learning into my teaching with great success. Any teacher desiring to reach their students more profoundly will find this course extremely valuable!”
       —NIH Fellow, NIAID

“I attended the 9-week long Scientists Teaching Science Pedagogy Course in 2010 taught by Barbara Houtz, which covered the topics including basic elements of curriculum design, assessment and instructional techniques. The course provided effective teaching strategies and information on best practices in science education in American universities. As an international fellow who was not familiar with the American college teaching, I found that this course helped me a lot in understanding the teaching practicing in American colleges. I believe that this will help me in my future teaching practicing. I found that this course is also particularly useful for me when I started to write a teaching statement for academic job searching. It is an excellent course!”
       —NIH Fellow, NIAID

“This is an outstanding course on scientific teaching you provided to NIH postdoc/clinical fellows. The clarity of your presentation and the enthusiasm you imparted about teaching science reflects your unique skills as an instructor. This was the best teaching course I have ever attended. Now, my goal as a teacher is to pass on my love of science to my students and to provide them with both a strong knowledge base as well as the ability to apply that knowledge in their daily lives.

I wish all postdoc fellows everywhere will be able to take advantage of your skills in teaching this course. You are a special resource and provide a great service to the NIH postdoc/clinical fellows.”
       —Postdoctoral Fellow, NIH

Course Objectives:

  1. Describe the differences between active and passive learning, expert and novice learners.
  2. Know the three types of learning environments.
  3. Evaluate personal biases and cultural differences.
  4. Interpret interpersonal relationships in light of cultural and gender differences.
  5. Compare inquiry-based activities to directed instructional activities.
  6. Recognize several steps in effective curriculum design.
  7. Create course objectives based on Bloom’s Taxonomy.
  8. Assess the level of Bloom’s Taxonomy of course objectives.
  9. Develop valid multiple choice and essay questions based on objectives.
  10. Revise test questions to be clearer and match the identified level of Bloom’s Taxonomy.
  11. Identify at least three alternatives to straight lecturing.
  12. Compose an Educational Philosophy Statement.
  13. Construct a detailed course syllabus.
  14. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of teaching and learning in an online environment.

Certificate of Completion and Reference Letter Requirements

Each Scientists Teaching Science assignment builds from the previous one, culminating in two documents you can use as templates for job applications and in teaching. Participants must satisfactorily complete six written assignments and all the required elements of nine lessons in order to be eligible for a certificate of completion and a personalized letter of recommendation from the instructor.

Registration Pricing

Student/Postdoc Member$300
Nonmember (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$350


Course opens: 6/4/14

Week One: 6/9/14

Active and Learning and Expert Learners: discussion of learning styles; assigned readings on current research findings about teaching and learning; personal essay on teaching experience

Week Two: 6/16/14

Learning Environments and Assessments: discussion on rigor and improving academic outcomes in higher education; assigned readings on improving student outcomes; first draft of Educational Philosophy Statement

Week Three: 6/23/14

Cultural Awareness and Diversity: discrimination and bias in teaching; assigned readings about experiencing bias in science careers; inclusive classrooms; discussion about experiencing and handling bias/discrimination

Break (Week of July 4th)

Week Four: 7/7/14

Inquiry-Based Science Education: differences between traditional laboratory activities and inquiry-based investigations; assigned readings on inquiry-based teaching in a college biology class

Week Five: 7/14/14

Writing Course Objectives: Bloom’s Taxonomy and student learning objectives; assigned readings about writing learning objectives; practice writing learning objectives for discussion board and submitted assignment

Week Six: 7/21/14

Creating Valid Assessments & Alternative Assessments: using rubrics and test blueprints; effective multiple choice and essay questions; designing and evaluating students without using tests for small and large classes; assigned readings on how to write valid assessment items; submitted assignment

Week Seven: 7/28/14

Let’s Get Virtual: teaching and learning online; challenges, advantages, and common mistakes; course management systems; engaging students; discussion board post and assigned readings about online learning

Week Eight: 8/4/14

Alternatives to Lecturing: discussion on going beyond a lecture to increase student attention and interest; final copy of Educational Philosophy Statement to include educational theories/strategies from course

Week Nine: 8/11/14

Writing a Syllabus & Reflections on Teaching: purpose of a syllabus; legal requirements of teaching; student/academic honor codes; student study habits; assigned reading on plagiarism and the purpose of a syllabus

Week Ten: 8/18/14

Model syllabus project; end of course



Barbara Houtz

STEM Education Solutions, LLC

Barbara Houtz is a former Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, a science educator, an author of three books on effective teaching strategies in science, a science curriculum developer, and a trainer for K-20 teachers in science, engineering, and literacy. After 13 years of classroom teaching, she moved to the federal government, where she spent several years working at the National Institutes of Health, Office of Science Education, advising on curriculum and teacher professional development for multiple federal research agencies. She spent four years as the Director of Outreach for the Pennsylvania State University’s Eberly College of Science, where she developed multiple educational programs to promote interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers and ensure college and career readiness for K-12 students. Barbara has over 16 years of experience in training educators in both a face-to-face and online environment. Her class on best practices in science education, Scientists Teaching Science, has helped hundreds of practicing scientists, physicians, engineers, computer scientists, and others learn how to utilize active teaching strategies recommended for effective STEM instruction.