Teaching Literature

I consider these some of the most useful and informative papers out there for those new to the scientific pedagogy literature, or those who are training or “developing” faculty who are new to the literature. For papers on more specific topics, click on theme titles at the end of this list.

Dividing Attention in the Classroom Reduces Exam Performance. Glass & Kang, Educational Psychology, July 2018. Dividing attention in the classroom reduces exam performance A well-controlled study demonstrating the learning-suppression effect of the use of devices in the classroom, not just on the user but on other students in the classroom. A strong basis of support for a classroom policy that incentivizes or enforces a device-free classroom.

Peer Instruction in Introductory Physics: A Method to Bring About Positive Changes in Students’ Attitudes and Beliefs. Zhang et al., Physical Review Physics Education Research, 13, 010104 (2017). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.13.010104. physics-peer-instruction-2017-mazur An informative comparison between pedagogies, demonstrating that students develop more expert-like beliefs when taught using Peer Instruction (a collaborative, active method) and benefit most when they are part of fixed rather than variable groups.

Increasing the Use of Student-Centered Pedagogies from Moderate to High Improves Student Learning and Attitudes about Biology. Connell et al., CBE—Life Sciences Education, March 1, 2016. DOI:10.1187/cbe.15-03-0062. Moderate to High Student Centered 2016 A well-controlled study comparing learning and attitude measures between two sections of the same course with the same instructor, semester, and exams. 

Increased Preclass Preparation Underlies Student Outcome Improvement in the Flipped Classroom. Gross et al., CBE-Life Sciences Education, Vol. 14, Winter 2015. Increased Preclass Preparation-Gross An interesting exploration of the mechanism by which flipping the classroom improves performance, with the additional finding that women and students with lower GPAs preferentially benefit from the flipped design.

Expecting to Teach Improves Learning and Organization of Knowledge In Free Recall of Text Passages. Nestojko et al., Memory and Cognition, May 2014. DOI 10.3758/s13421-014-0416-z Expecting to Teach Content Improves Scores A compelling study which shows that students do better on a test when expecting to teach the content than when expecting to take a test! Thus, our students’ test preparation strategies are suboptimal– a result we can apply in our own classes by teaching students how to study in research-based ways.

Active Learning Increases Student Performance in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. Scott Freeman et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, May 12, 2014. doi:10.1073/pnas.1319030111 An important and widely cited meta-analysis concluding that active learning strategies are so superior in promoting student learning that if active learning vs. passive learning were a drug study, it would be stopped and all students given the drug (active learning!)

Retrieval Practice Produces More Learning than Elaborative Studying with Concept Mapping. Karpicke and Blunt. Science Express, 20 January 2011. DOI: 10.1126/science.1199327 One of the most-well done studies establishing the now-celebrated power of retrieval practice in learning.

Where’s the evidence that active learning works? Joel Michael. Adv Physiol Educ 30: 159–167, 2006. doi:10.1152/advan.00053.2006. Active learning evidence physiology

What if students revolt? —Considering Student Resistance: Origins, Options, and Opportunities for Investigation. Shannon B. Seidel and Kimberly D. Tanner. CBE—Life Sciences Education. Vol. 12, 586–595, Winter 2013. Student Revolt.pdf

Scientific Teaching.  Jo Handelsman, Diane Ebert-May, Robert Beichner, Peter Bruns, Amy Chang, Robert DeHaan, Jim Gentile, Sarah Lauffer, James Stewart, Shirley M. Tilghman, and William B.Wood. Science, Vol 304, 23 April 2004. Scientific Teaching.pdf

Farewell, Lecture? Eric Mazur. Science, Volume 323, pages 50-51. 2 January 2009. Farewell Lecture

Flipped Classroom Papers

Team-Based Learning Papers

Using Mathematical Modeling in Biology Papers