Lab courses provide a rich opportunity for experiential learning, giving students time, space, and support to develop into practicing scientists and engineers. Lab courses also, however, carry their own challenges. How do we best foster the ways of thinking that characterize our disciplines? How do we also help students develop the practical skills—from keeping records to performing assays—that they will need as they advance? How do we help students develop the communication skills that are particularly associated with investigation in our discipline? And how do we help our TAs develop the teaching skills they need to foster these abilities?
The CFT facilitates a learning community for faculty members interested in grappling with these issues. Our topics change from session to session in response to the group’s needs; previous topics have included TA development, electronic record-keeping, assessment/assignment types, and approaches to enhance inquiry in labs. The group has a particular focus on workshopping syllabi or individual labs to enhance desired features, and almost always centers its work around examples from the participants’ own teaching.
The group will meet in Medical Research Building III/Biological Sciences Building U5202 on four Fridays this fall, from 11am-12pm: September 8, October 6, November 3, and December 1. Please contact CFT Assistant Director Cynthia Brame if you are interested in attending.