Skip to Main Content
Special Lecture Series Spring 2012


 Friday, January 20, 2012  9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  SC 125

Pratibha Varma-Nelson, Professor of Chemistry and Executive Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

TOPIC:  Peer-Led Team Learning: A Faculty Student Partnership for Educational Reform in the Sciences

ABSTRACT: The Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) model of teaching actively engages students in the learning process by having them solve carefully structured problems in small groups under the direction of a trained peer leader. Peer-led workshops are an effective way to engage large numbers of students with course material and each other. Improved performance and retention, development of communication and team skills, higher motivation and course satisfaction, and increased interest in pursuing further study in science are among the benefits of the PLTL approach. This workshop will introduce the theoretical and practical elements of the PLTL model and describe how technology can be used to promote cyber learning through PLTL. Cyber PLTL (cPLTL) is an online, synchronous, collaborative environment for conducting PLTL workshops. The effectiveness of cPLTL in duplicating the proven benefits of the traditional (face-to-face) PLTL method will be described and preliminary results will be presented.  This project is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


 Thursday, February 16, 2012  4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.  SW 122

Don Millard, Program Director and TUES program lead, Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation

TOPIC: “Engineering Innovations in Engineering Education

ABSTRACT: We depend on computers, tablets, mobile products and networks to do our jobs - while using personal devices for entertainment - yet we still have barely scratched the surface of how technology can be used to improve education. This presentation will describe and demonstrate how educational technologies can be used to eliminate the boundaries between theory provided in a lecture and practice through enabling/encouraging "hands-on" exploration of principles, devices, and systems. The talk will discuss how new pedagogy is beginning to change the role of educator/teachers, increase interactivity in the classroom and improve learning.

The presentation will begin with a brief overview of how the results of recent studies can guide future educational efforts. It will describe and demonstrate how interactive media and educational technology can be used to help learners understand/visualize concepts. It will conclude with a look at the future of technology and close with a multimedia presentation – that offers an example of how music can be used to help students understand basic STEM concepts.


 Thursday, March 1, 2012  3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.  SW 122

Dave Brown, Professor of Chemistry, Southwestern College, CA

TOPIC: “Incorporating Aspects of Materials Science, Nanotechnology and Sustainable Energy into the Lower-Division STEM Curriculum”

ABSTRACT: Advances in new materials and sustainable methods of energy production are ripe with content appropriate to modernize and increase student appeal for courses such as general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics.  Topics essential to lower-division curricula, such as REDOX & electrochemistry, spectroscopy, coordination chemistry and solid state theory, can be made more exciting and relevant to students by including modern, materials science-based lecture and laboratory activities. 

This presentation will provide examples of how lower-division course material can be taught in a manner that connects methods and pedagogy based on materials science to traditional course objectives and will offer hands-on opportunities with select experiments.  Resources made available through the cCWCS project ( will also be shared.


 Friday, April 13, 2012  10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  TC 136

Jim Hewlett, Professor of Biology and Director of Biotechnology, Finger Lakes Community College, NY

TOPIC:  “Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative”

ABSTRACT:  Established in 2005, the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) has grown from a pilot project initiated at Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, NY, to a consortium of 26 institutions spread across the country under support from the National Science Foundation.  CCURI’s mission is to help community colleges develop undergraduate research programs as part of their curriculum reform efforts.  Professor James A. Hewlett, Executive Director of CCURI, will present the various models that CCURI partners use, and highlight the ways that institutions can build sustainability into their programs.


Montgomery College

Montgomery County, MD


©2018, Montgomery College