Sabancı University has adopted the global effort to rethink the role of the faculty and the students in undergraduate education and prioritize “Scholarship of Teaching and Learning” (SoTL) that values evidence-based student learning. As a part of this effort, Science of Nature (NS 101/102) Courses have been offered during the last 6 years in a theme-based modular format, emphasizing an interdisciplinary and student-centered course structure based on active learning. The courses cover basic concepts of physics, chemistry, and biology through the interdisciplinary modules. As a part of the first-year core curriculum at Sabancı University, the NS courses are compulsory for all incoming freshman students regardless of their prospective majors. To date, we have worked with more than 5000 students in this student-centered version of the NS courses.
Such a student-centered approach is unique especially for large freshman STEM courses in Turkish universities, and over the last 6 years, we have accumulated a variety of experiences and data with our freshman students, which we believe are worth sharing. We have also developed and established professional development programs for instructors and assistants of the NS courses to inform them on the pedagogy behind the course and to help them gain the necessary skills to become effective facilitators in the student-centered learning environment.
The Workshop on Innovative Approaches in College STEM Education is aimed at sharing this professional development opportunity for college-level-STEM educators, who are interested in SoTL and in applying innovative approaches to their courses. The program consists of two phases: First, the 3-day workshop provides background pedagogical information through activities on student-centered strategies. It is then followed by an application phase, during which participants are expected to apply some of the learned approach with their own students. An individual, post-semester online feedback meeting concludes the program. The participants’ experiences and resources they found in the process are compiled and shared on the workshop website, which we hope will benefit the larger educator community within Turkey and beyond.
Click to visit the workshop website.