Glossary

 

Term
Definition
Backward design A framework for course design in which course assessments and instruction are developed using the clear learning goals for the course.
Central organization or unit The organization or unit responsible for managing and overseeing the initiative. In the SEI, this unit was called SEI Central.
Change agent A person who instigates and supports change and improvement within an organization. A change agent often brings visibility to the needed change, provides skills and knowledge needed for the change, and helps create coalitions of individuals to carry through the change.
CU SEI The Science Education Initiative at University of Colorado Boulder (2006-2014).
Departmental Action Team (DAT) A facilitated working group of 4-8 faculty, staff, and/or students in a department to create sustainable change in a department, and foster the development of departmental change agents.
Departmental director The leader of the initiative at the department level, responsible for supervising the DBES and managing the departmental program.
Discipline-based education research (DBER) Research on teaching and learning within a discipline (e.g., the study of teaching and learning in biology). DBER applies knowledge of teaching and learning to the specific tasks and difficulties of learning particular disciplinary content.

 

 

Term
Definition
Discipline-based education specialist (DBES) A person with expertise in their discipline and in effective education techniques, acting as a change agent in a disciplinary department. CU SEI experts were termed Science Teaching Fellows (STFs), while in the UBC CWSEI they were termed Science Teaching and Learning Fellows (STLFs).
Initiative organizers Those managing the initiative at the university level (typically part of the central organization), providing leadership, vision, and oversight.
Learning assistant (LA) An undergraduate student who facilitates the learning of their undergraduate peers. An LA is typically someone who has done well in the course and has received training in pedagogy. Unlike teaching assistants, LAs are not given roles as instructional support staff, such as grading.
Learning goals or learning outcomes Statements on what a student should be able to do as a result of learning the course content. Learning goals should be precise and measurable.
New DBES Development Series Training provided by the UBC CWSEI for new DBESs on relevant education and cognitive psychology research, instructional practices, and the assessment of student learning.
Paired teaching The sharing of course planning, organization, delivery, and assessment by two or more instructors in order to spread the effective use of research-based instructional practices. Often one instructor is more experienced in the course.
The SEI The Science Education Initiative; an initiative aimed at changing STEM teaching practices at the University of Colorado Boulder and The University of British Columbia.
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) The systematic investigation of teaching and learning outcomes with the express purpose of improving one’s own teaching practice. While SoTL and DBER may share similar methods, SoTL is often conducted by an individual faculty member for the purposes of reflecting upon and improving their instruction, whereas DBER is aimed at producing more generalizable results.
UBC CWSEI The Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at The University of British Columbia (2007-2017).

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Glossary by Stephanie V. Chasteen (University of Colorado Boulder) and Warren J. Code (University of British Columbia) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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