Eric Mazur Topics

Eric Mazur
  • Educating the Innovators of the 21st Century
    Can we teach innovation? Innovation requires whole-brain thinking - left-brain thinking for creativity and imagination, and right-brain thinking for planning and execution. Our current approach to education in science and technology, focuses on the transfer of information, developing mostly right-brain thinking by stressing copying and reproducing existing ideas rather than generating new ones. Mazur will show how shifting the focus in lectures from delivering information to team work and creative thinking greatly improves the learning that takes place in the classroom and promotes independent thinking.
  • Confessions of a Converted Lecturer
    He thought he was a good teacher until he discovered his students were just memorizing information rather than learning to understand the material. Who was to blame? The students? The material? Mazur will explain how he came to the agonizing conclusion that the culprit was neither of these. It was his teaching that caused students to fail! Mazur will show how he has adjusted his approach to teaching and how it has improved his students' performance significantly.
  • Why You Can Pass Tests and Still Fail in the Real World
    Why is it that stellar students sometimes fail in the workplace while dropouts succeed? One reason is that most, if not all, of our current assessment practices are inauthentic. Just as the lecture focuses on the delivery of information to students, so does assessment often focus on having students regurgitate that same information back to the instructor. Consequently, assessment fails to focus on the skills that are relevant in life in the 21st century. Assessment has been called the "hidden curriculum" as it is an important driver of students' study habits. Unless we rethink our approach to assessment, it will be very difficult to produce a meaningful change in education.
  • Memorization or Understanding: Are We Teaching the Right Thing?
    Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is what is mostly done in large introductory courses -- instructors present material (even though this material might be readily available in printed form) and for students the main purpose of lectures is to take down as many notes as they can. Few students have the ability, motivation, and discipline to synthesize all the information delivered to them. Yet synthesis is perhaps the most important -- and most elusive -- aspect of education. Mazur will show how shifting the focus in lectures from delivering information to synthesizing information greatly improves the learning that takes place in the classroom.
  • The Interactive Learning Toolkit: Technology and the Classroom
    It has been suggested the lack of interaction in large lecture courses is to blame for the many problems facing these courses: declining enrollments, low attendance, poor evaluations, and disappointing retention. Eric Mazur offers a way of redesigning the classroom so interaction is introduced in many aspects of the course. This approach has shown to be effective by many instructors in a broad variety of environments. He will demonstrate some of the tools he has developed to foster this interaction.
  • Assessment: The Silent Killer of Learning
    Why is it that stellar students sometimes fail in the workplace while dropouts succeed? One reason is that most, if not all, of our current assessment practices are inauthentic. Just as the lecture focuses on the delivery of information to students, so does assessment often focus on having students regurgitate that same information back to the instructor. Consequently, assessment fails to focus on the skills that are relevant in life in the 21st century. Assessment has been called the "hidden curriculum" as it is an important driver of students' study habits. Unless we rethink our approach to assessment, it will be very difficult to produce a meaningful change in education.
  • Using Clickers to Turn Lectures into Learning
    The world is abuzz with talk about "clickers" or classroom response systems. Clicker are not just simple polling tools, but can be used to achieve significant learning gains. In this presentation we explore using clickers with Peer Instruction, a pedagogy that encourages students to interact and solve problems during class.
  • Flat Space, Deep Learning
    The teaching of physics to engineering students has remained stagnant for close to a century. In this novel team-based, project-based approach, we break the mold by giving students ownership of their learning. This new course has no standard lectures or exams, yet students' conceptual gains are significantly greater than those obtained in traditional courses. The course blends six best practices to deliver a learning experience that helps students develop important skills, including communication, estimation, problem solving, and team skills, in addition to a solid conceptual understanding of physics. This showcase will discuss the course philosophy and pedagogical approach and participants will take part in a new form of collaborative assessment.
  • The Scientific Approach to Teaching: Research as a Basis for Course Design
    Discussions of teaching -- even some publications -- abound with anecdotal evidence. Our intuition often supplants a systematic, scientific approach to finding out what works and what doesn't work. Yet, research is increasingly demonstrating that our gut feelings about teaching are often wrong. In this talk Eric Mazur will discuss some research his group has done on gender issues in science courses and on the effectiveness of classroom demonstrations.
  • The Tyranny of the Lecture
    Most -- if not all -- of the important skills in our life are acquired outside the traditional classroom setting. Yet we continue to teach using lectures where students passively take down information. Instead, we should really focus on the assimilation of that information and shift the focus from teaching to helping students learn. Over the past 20 years, instructors world-wide have begun to adopt Peer Instruction to get students to think in class. With the advent of new technology the process can be significantly improved. A new data-analytics driven audience response system does away with multiple choice questions and helps instructors design better questions, manage time and process flow, and optimizes the discussions in the classroom.
  • The Principles and Practice of Physics
    The Principles and Practice of Physics is a groundbreaking new calculus-based introductory physics textbook that uses a unique organization and pedagogy to allow students to develop a true conceptual understanding of physics alongside the quantitative skills needed in the course. The book organizes introductory physics around the conservation principles and provides a unified contemporary view of introductory physics. In this talk we will discuss the unique architecture of the book, the conservation-laws-first approach, and results obtained with this book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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