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Creating Online Content Methods Courses in STEM: Challenges and Opportunities

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Saved by jaimie.henthorn@cu.edu
on July 7, 2014 at 2:10:20 pm
 

Creating Online Content Methods Courses in STEM: Challenges and Opportunities 

 

Presenter: Geeta Verma

Co-Presenter: Heather Johnson

Organization: University of Colorado Denver

Role: Associate Professor

Track: General Presentation

Topic: Disruptive Innovations

Level: For Mere Mortals

 

Abstract: This presentation will share challenges and opportunities experienced by two faculty members in developing fully online STEM content methods courses at the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver). These faculty members teach in the Urban Community Teacher Education (UCTE) licensure programs and have been actively involved in converting/developing fully online content/pedagogy focused science education and mathematics education courses at CU Denver.

 

Bio: Geeta Verma is an associate professor of science education at University of Colorado Denver’s School of Education & Human Development. Her research work, grounded in sociocultural theory, integrates equity issues in science education, curriculum discourse and ethnic studies in immigrant communities. Dr. Verma has been leading the efforts in online course offerings in the STEM program area at CU Denver. She recently published an edited book (co-editor Gertrude Tinker Sacs) titled, “Critical Mass in the Teacher Education Academy: Symbiosis and Diversity”. National Science Foundation has funded her work related to recruitment and retention of minority students in STEM fields.

 

Description: Teacher Education courses are beginning to be offered as hybrid or fully online courses.  Content methods courses comprise an integral part of teacher education courses. These courses prepare pre-service teachers to master content pedagogical knowledge (PCK) in various content areas and build the foundation for pre-service teachers to start their careers successfully in k-12 settings.  Text based content courses present fluidity between on-campus and online- modalities and prose lesser challenges in moving the content online. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) methods courses present specific challenges in transitioning the course materials to online modality. Challenges include: 1) need for students’ close interactions with instructor and among themselves; and 2) high dependence on laboratory and hands on experiences; 3) high dependence on ongoing and sustainable group peer-feedback during class activities.

 

We, in STEM education at the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver), have developed and are implementing fully online STEM methods courses. This presentation will share challenges and opportunities experienced by two faculty members in developing content/pedagogy focused science education and mathematics education courses focused. These courses are integral part of the Urban Community Teacher Education (UCTE) licensure programs as well as our master’s program. We will be discussing how we have addressed challenges in developing and implementing fully online methods courses as well as opportunities these courses provide to our students.

 

To address the aforementioned challenges, we have integrated the following elements into our courses: (1) Video conferences with the instructor and small groups of students, (2) Multimedia “hands-on” experiences involving classroom video and virtual laboratories and manipulative, and (3) Small group peer feedback systems.

 

Online methods courses have afforded opportunities both for us as instructors and for our students. Using small groups within the course has allowed us to differentiate instruction for students with different amounts of experience and expertise. Students have provided positive feedback regarding the learning opportunities afforded to them by the multimedia experiences.

 

We see a few reasons for the opportunities afforded by these courses. The courses that we are teaching have smaller numbers of students (<30), allowing for interaction between students and instructors. Because students in our classes are teaching in classrooms at least 2 days per week, the online modality affords them flexibility in completing the coursework.

 

Additional benefits include the opportunity to invite non-traditional licensure students into the classroom. Currently, this includes students across the metro area who are currently teaching and obtaining licensure. 

 

Presenter Presentation Materials URL (Web Address):

 

 

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