Thursday, February 20, 2014
From news items on the disruptive force of MOOCs to White House Datajams and Datapaloozas to expert-informed national reports, we are collectively being challenged to rethink and improve the college learning experience. The NRC’s Discipline-based Education Research report baselines the state of research on learning and understanding in science and engineering and the Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development pushes towards coherence and impact in growing the evidence base. Yet the gap between research and implementation remains a challenge, despite the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology push with the Engage to Excel recommendations. Strategies to move the needle on undergraduate education will be explored in the context of efforts and investments at the NSF and the federal government more broadly. Investments to integrate, describe, and measure evidence-based teaching practices, the Federal STEM Education 5-year Strategic Plan, Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education, Transforming Undergraduate Engineering Education, and a number of recent and forthcoming resources are all pushing on institutional change around teaching practice. Preparing a globally competitive workforce, including future teachers, and a scientifically literate populace, depends on our collective success in furthering a robust research and implementation infrastructure.