Saul Beceiro-Novo

College of Natural Science; Assistant Professor

Curriculum reform for ISP209L, the mystery of the physical world lab

Every semester 275 non-science majors go through this class. I propose to incorporate weekly formative assessment, introduce crosscutting concepts from other science fields, and build a more inclusive classroom for students to really feel like scientists. I also propose to incorporate components of flipped-classroom to optimize the instructor-student interaction.

Project Solution:

So far students follow instructions from a worksheet to run their weekly labs. I propose to change the format incorporating a flipped classroom component. We will design videos, text, and presentations for the students to prepare before class so that they can take more advantage of the instructor-student interaction during class and focus on the experimental part. A big challenge we observe is that we only have one computer per group of 5-6 students, which ends up with only one student doing the real work and the others falling behind. Another major drawback is the lack of a clear assessment tool for instructors to use. I propose the design of clear rubrics addressing the content and practice goals each week that will guide the new formative assessment. Another major change is the adaptation of a new textbook from the Open Educational Resources library which will entail the generation of new presentations that must be fully accessible.

The first step in this regard is the use of a free textbook from the OER. This way we will break a bias against students with less economical resources. We will also build all our materials with a clear full-accessibility lens. Another major change will be the incorporation of new content to be able to grant the “D” diversity designator for the students. These contents will have a major focus in scientific practices and implicit bias. Having incorporated formative feedback will also naturally bring more DEI to the classroom and will also help us to provide students with different avenues to thrive in class (presentations, written essays, mechanical experimentation, etc).

One of the main goals is the development of clear rubrics that will address content and practice goals for the instructors to provide formative feedback to the students. This will also contain peer-reviewed tasks so that the students learn to use a rubric and be familiar with giving constructive feedback.

Project Update:

Saul was able to install new computers and software. But shortly after the campus shut down and stayed online for the fall semester, causing Saul to have to modify the course to be delivered virtually. He changed the course to be virtual by putting together a series of videos using the software for students to follow from home. He hopes that once they can get back in the lab, to fully implement the changes and make the labs accessible for all students. 

Learn more about Saul Beceiro-Novo

March 2020 campus was closed down due to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic. Courses were moved to remote teaching for the spring 2020 semester and fully online courses for the Summer and Fall of 2020. This impacted many students and educators in the way that they both taught and learned.