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I have taught an introductory course for life science majors three times, each time introducing one or more teaching techniques discussed during the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Teaching Education Collaborative (STEMTEC) meetings. Typical class size was 275 students. I cannot make quantitative statements about comparisons between the results of STEMTEC-type teaching methods and traditional teaching methods because I have never taught this course in a completely traditional lecture style. During the first year, I introduced conceptual questions into my lectures. The lecture would be interrupted several times with questions posed to the class. The students then had several minutes to discuss each question among their neighbors, then present their answers. During the second year, I switched from traditional homework to a computerized system which allowed instant feedback to the students, and the ability to resubmit solutions to problems they had not successfully solved. I also introduced an exam format that enabled the students to work individually, then redo the exam in groups and hand in a second set of solutions. The goal of each of these techniques was to increase the engagement of the students with the material of the course. Each of the techniques had both successes and limitations. The most serious problems I confronted were technical difficulties which diverted attention from the tasks at hand to the necessity of keeping the system functioning.





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