A few years ago biochemist Brent Stockwell became concerned that his traditional methods of teaching—comprised of textbook readings, in-class lectures and tests—weren’t effectively reaching his students. So the professor of biological sciences and chemistry began tweaking his undergraduate course called “Structure and Metabolism.”
He transferred his lecture material to videos so his students could watch lectures before class, and he restructured classroom time to have students solve problems in groups. He used a polling service to ask students—anonymously and in real time—what they got from that day’s lesson, and their answers informed his subsequent presentations.
Was his new approach working? He wasn’t sure. “I wondered, ‘Where can I find an expert in randomized controlled trials who would work with me on this?’”