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Faculty Development Groups for Interactive Teaching

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.765.1 - 26.765.6



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Paper Authors

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Jill K Nelson George Mason University


Margret Hjalmarson George Mason University

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Margret Hjalmarson is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education at George Mason University and currently a Program Officer in the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings at the National Science Foundation. Her research interests include engineering education, mathematics education, faculty development and mathematics teacher leadership.

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Teaching Development Groups for Interactive TeachingBackgroundOne ongoing challenge for engineering education is supporting the use of research-basedpractices for teaching and learning in the classroom. Drawing on results from K-12teaching development that indicate the need for ongoing teaching development and theneed to support faculty as they are changing, we implemented a small group teachingdevelopment model. In a three-year project, we included two phases of teachingdevelopment groups. The teaching development model focused on increasing knowledgeabout research-based practices particularly focused on student engagement combinedwith instructors’ design and testing of interactive teaching strategies in their ownclassrooms.MethodologyIn year one, group leaders met monthly as a teaching development group across fiveinstitutions. In year two, group leaders recruited instructors in engineering and otherSTEM disciplinary departments into local small groups. Each group included the use ofadditional resources about research-based teaching and learning. (e.g., Ambrose, Bridges,DiPietro, Lovett, & Norman, 2010). Each instructor chose an interactive teachingstrategy to use in their course. Groups met regularly throughout the school year to discussand plan their teaching. The group leaders continued meeting throughout the year.Conference call meeting notes, longer narrative descriptions written by group leaders,and survey data were collected to study the design of the groups.ResultsThe survey results indicated that the groups were useful for supporting their teaching.The groups provided sustained support and accountability. In addition, they supportedconnecting with other faculty interested in interactive teaching. At the same time thatcollaboration and community was important, instructors also had autonomy in selectingtheir own strategies and designing them for their own courses and contexts. In anextension of this project, we have expanded the teaching development groups toadditional STEM departments at our own institution and are examining new structuresand characteristics.Ambrose, S., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Nelson, J. K., & Hjalmarson, M. (2015, June), Faculty Development Groups for Interactive Teaching Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24102

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