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New teaching approach is successful

Research Achievements

New teaching approach is successful

PI Mike Hochella taught GEOS 6604 (Fundamentals of Surface Science and Interface Behavior) in the fall semester, 2009. The course has shifted from a lecture course to a student-centered learning experience. As shown by educational and cognitive psychologists, maturity and retention in a subject is vastly improved in the student-centered model. In GEOS 6604, conventional lecturing was kept to a minimum. Class discussions were the norm, many of them centered around joint reading assignments. Each student was also responsible for giving several presentations during the semester, and the student audience was required to ask questions and orchestrate intelligent discussion after each of these talks. Finally, several classes were held in labs, observing and in some cases running analytical instruments important in surface and interface analysis. Student feedback from the course was exceptionally positive, and GEOS 6604 will be taught using this model in the future.