Large-Scale Pedagogical Change at a Large Research University
Peter Lepage, Cornell University

Wednesday 17 December 2017, 17.30-19.30
Lecture Theatre 340, Huxley Building
South Kensington Campus

There is a substantial and growing body of research – many hundreds of papers – that has identified several pedagogical approaches that are significantly more effective than traditional lecturing, even for large classes in conventional auditoriums. And yet traditional lecturing still dominates in most subjects at most institutions. This talk describes a program launched five years ago at Cornell University, by its College of Arts and Sciences, to address this contradiction. In the program's first iteration, large introductory course sequences in physics and biology were transformed by their respective departments. The program recently grew to include projects in 9 departments, affecting more than 70 faculty and thousands of students annually. This talk will discuss what was done, why and how it was done, and some of the impressive outcomes that followed from the changes. The talk will also discuss institutional challenges and opportunities created by such projects, from the perspective of the (then) dean.

Peter Lepage is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Physics at Cornell University.

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