Thursday, April 2, 2015

Why Are You Teaching That? - Richard M. Felder, Tomorrow's Professor

How about the courses you teach? If you went to some of your alumni and asked them what in their college education turned out to be really useful after graduation, what do you suppose they'd tell you? I did that a few years ago. I surveyed 72 chemical engineering alumni I had taught, asking them to reflect on their college experience and tell me what about it was helpful in preparing them for their current careers, and 50 of them responded. Practically none of the curriculum content made their lists. Skills, yes, especially the problem-solving skills they learned from those endless assignments (25) and the communication and time management skills they got from team projects (23). Only one specific course was nominated by more than two people, however-material and energy balances, naturally (8). As far as the students were concerned, the content of those 4-5 years of math and science and engineering and general education courses was mostly irrelevant to their post-graduation careers and lives. http://cgi.stanford.edu/~dept-ctl/cgi-bin/tomprof/enewsletter.php?msgno=1397

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