Athulaprabha MurthiDr. Athulaprabha Murthi, clinical assistant professor of biology, attended a mobile summer institute on scientific teaching (MoSI) held at Pace University from May 28 to 31, 2019.

MoSI is based on the nationally renowned National Academies Summer Institute founded at the University of Wisconsin Madison by Dr. Jo Handelsman and Dr. Bill Wood (Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University Colorado Boulder). Mobility allows many of these national leaders in education reform to travel to various institutions and provide training to educators in evidence-based teaching strategies. They focus on how to address challenges in STEM education and share some well tested tools that help engage students to learn.

“I spent three days at Pace University, Pleasantville, attending different sessions, which apart from teaching also involved strategies for student engagement, assessments, evaluations,” said Dr. Murthi. “There were about 20 other undergraduate educators from different colleges around New York City. The first day was like an initiation into the student world. Through various activities, the organizers enabled us to appreciate the diversity among students in terms of where they are from, their backgrounds, financial situations as well as learning abilities. These activities allowed us to reflect on our teaching styles as well as how the students learn in our classes.

“The second and third days were largely dedicated towards understanding active learning, tools that can be used as well as working in a group to develop a teaching module. Evaluating the effectiveness of a teaching module and assessing how it enables students to grasp key concepts is just as important as developing one. Thus, a whole session was devoted to various assessments and evaluation tools which anyone can use. One such peer evaluation tool can be found at the University of California, Davis.

“Overall, I found the mobile institute an enlightening experience that will surely help me hone my skills as an educator. Most importantly, I found a group of highly experienced and dedicated educators with whom I can interact, tap into for resources and develop a collaborative relationship.”

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