Getting Students to Focus on the Process of Solving Problems: Beyond Plug and Chug

Rebecca Pierce, CTL Graduate Fellow, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics

Thursday, October 3 | 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Location: Graduate Student Center 305

Summary: Instructors in STEM disciplines often teach students who attempt to master the course material by focusing on the mechanics of solving the specific types of problems they encounter in the textbook, lectures, and problem sets. If left to their own devices, these plug-and-chuggers will not only have difficulty solving different problem types on exams, but will also obtain a poorer understanding of the fundamental course concepts. This in turn under-prepares the students for more advanced courses and ultimately their future careers. Fortunately, as instructors, we have the power to influence our students’ learning approaches though the methods we use in all aspects of our teaching. This workshop will discuss strategies that lead students away from a plug and chug approach toward a more rewarding process-based learning approach.
All graduate students are welcome. Counts towards CTL Teaching Certificate. Also counts as a follow-up workshop for participants in TA Training.