The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is creating a support framework to facilitate the implementation of evidence-based teaching practices in large courses that have traditionally been taught by the lecture method. Our principal goals are to:
- To continue the transition of our large lecture gateway courses in biology, chemistry and physics-astronomy into high-structure, high-engagement learning environments consistent with best practices in science education.
- To achieve widespread adoption of evidence based methods among instructors at this level, we are developing and implementing a mentor/apprentice program that facilitates the transfer of effective techniques from mentors (instructors experienced in evidence-based practices) to apprentices (faculty members with less experience in these methods.)
Our plan is to create incentives and reduce barriers to the adoption of techniques that have demonstrated value to both instructors and students. A mentor, a faculty member experienced in high-engagement teaching and an apprentice, a faculty member with less experience in high structure methods, work together to teach a single course that has already been redesigned. This significantly reduces the time burden on the apprentice of adopting new techniques and redesigning a class and will allow these techniques to be rapidly translated across a diverse group of faculty. New faculty members will encounter a strong support framework that will assist them in the use of evidence-based practices; we project that this will become the norm. As a result, we anticipate that the program described herein will not only be sustainable, and will also grow in scope.