Chemistry, Physics and Engineering Education through Technology Enhanced
Visualization, Simulation and Design Cases and Outcomes Assessment
A proposal to the GE Fund -- Learning Excellence Initiative
The Colleges of Chemistry and Engineering at UC Berkeley have been at the
forefront of curricular reform and use of information technologies to improve
undergraduate instruction with separate programs in each of our units [1,2].
Physical Sciences has also won an NSF grant to implement intensive sections and
train associated graduate student instructors in lower division chemistry, math
and physics courses . Currently none of these major efforts are integrated
on campus, as their funding is restricted to targeted disciplines and specific
programmatic goals. This proposal is the first in which Chemistry and
Engineering join with the Departments of Physics and Mathematics to work on
systematic curricular reform by coordinating calculus instruction with
chemistry, physics and engineering in a manner that involves the intellectual
development of related curricular content and pedagogies, cross-departmental
assessment, and an integrated instructional technology plan. The previous
grants provide the departmental foundation for reform -- whereas the GE Fund
will greatly leverage these efforts and provide the integrating enabler,
interdisciplinary components, interdisciplinary student outcomes assessment and
For over ten years, the need for curriculum reform in calculus-based
disciplines has been well-recognized. Reports have been issued by the National
Research Council [4-5], the National Science Foundation [6-8], the professional
societies [9-10] and industry [11-13] describing how the current curriculum
fails to serve its students effectively and the industry that employs them.
The major problem areas are clear.
Students: The present system turns many students away from math,
physical sciences and engineering because they perceive the courses as
difficult, boring, and irrelevant to their own lives. They feel there is no
room for creativity in the learning process and little room for personal
participation in these classes [14-15]. For example, even though many students
in introductory math, physics and chemistry courses are engineering majors, the
courses often seem to be aimed at the small number math, physics and chemistry
majors. Many schools consider physics a "gatekeeper" or "weeder" course. Recent
work by Seymour and Hewitt  and Tobias and Hake  report that lack of
interest in science is one of the top factors contributing to students'
switching out of engineering. One quote from a student in the Seymour and
Hewitt [14; p. 64] ethnographic study sums up the situation:
The first two years are so dull -- at least the introductory courses in
physics. I mean, they have absolutely nothing to do with what you'll be doing
later. That's why I'm afraid you might be losing good students from engineering
that are really qualified and have the intelligence . . . There are ways to
make their introductory material interesting so that it doesn't drive away good
people through boredom.
The students who remain interested in science and engineering take
narrow and discipline-oriented courses; they often fail to see the connections
between concepts in calculus and chemistry, physics, and engineering. Case
study work, problem-solving abilities, the interfaces between disciplines, and
the connections to current scientific and engineering research and societal
problems are rarely emphasized. Successful science and engineering students
complain that they do not have time to understand all of the course material
presented to them and must resort to memorizing to do well in a course.
The sheer volume of material covered in a semester of introductory
calculus, chemistry and physics discourages the development of critical and
integrative thinking skills needed for research and professional practice.
Moreover, students have few strategies for diagnosing their own learning
weaknesses and monitoring their own understanding.
Faculty: Many, if not a majority, of faculty still employ
traditional teaching styles that are not challenged either through the
development of cross- disciplinary
approaches or exposure to new techniques in pedagogy, technology, or curriculum
development. As a result, students often lack motivation. They feel there is
no room for creativity in the learning process and little room for active
participation in class. Professors complain that despite their efforts to
prepare interesting lectures their students are not engaged.
Current teaching methods do not usually incorporate modern information systems
technology and do not prepare students to utilize future technologies and to
develop autonomous learning skills. Blackboard and chalk are still the most
common means for presenting math and science concepts, yet much of this subject
material cannot be accurately depicted by a two-dimensional "still-life."
While the use of innovative, computer-assisted learning is growing, it is still
not typically used because faculty have not been given the training or
assistance to use it properly.
Lack of instruments for quality feedback on student learning: Faculty
members typically rely on tests to gauge student performance. Too often, they
find too late that students have not learned as expected. Faculty need ways to
get a continual flow of accurate information about how their students are doing
throughout the semester. They need to incorporate into their teaching ongoing
assessments of student learning, such as short in-class
assignments, "minute papers," concept connections, small group work, learning
journals, and other active learning strategies. They also need instruments to
help them assess whether student learning in one class is providing the
foundation and integrative skills needed for the next class, and ultimately for
professional practice and lifelong learning.
Our ultimate goal is to improve student learning and motivation in lower
division (freshman/ sophomore) math and science courses by connecting the
abstract material in the traditional curriculum to design and analysis problems
whose solutions are realized through computer-based animations, simulations and
interactive multimedia design cases. Classroom examples, take-home problems,
and intensive sections/small study group problems will be designed so that
solutions can be observed visually through simulations and animations that
illustrate the power of analysis and simulation to verify and visualize
physical systems. These will be coupled with "order of magnitude" analyses so
that students can estimate whether their answers are reasonable. These problems
will link to more in-depth multimedia modules and hands-on exercises which
demonstrate how mathematical and physical principles are applied to create
physical artifacts and engineering designs. The development of tested
curricular modules will be coupled with a critical overview of material covered
in the relevant lower division courses and a move to optimize both their
content and process of instruction.
Such an ambitious undertaking at one of the world's premier research
universities would not be possible if we were not able to build on the
accomplishments of others and those of our own faculty and infrastructure. We
are driven by the primary goal of improving student learning along many
dimensions. We are cautious of bold predictions that Technology Enhanced
Learning (TEL) will reduce overall costs in education. But one major efficiency
will be realized by building on the best work of others.
Thanks in large part to NSF funding for the Core Mathematics Consortium (Grant
No: NSF-USE-895-3923 and NSF-DUE-935-2905) first-year calculus education is
changing . Students are learning single and multivariable calculus from
four perspectives -- verbal, geometrical, numerical, and algebraic. Formal
definitions of mathematical concepts and procedures for manipulating variables
evolve from the investigation of practical problems. A multi-university network
of physics, chemists, and engineering faculty are developing and sharing ideas
about what and how physical sciences should be taught. We will
build on the accomplishments and the network of others involved in physics
reform -- e.g., R.R. Hake , the CUPLES participants  and Leonard ,
chemistry reform [20-21] and previous work funded by the GE Fund/Foundation in
chemical engineering design  and instructional technology .
The proposed grant outlined below will also be greatly leveraged by two
NSF-funded national curricular reform efforts with headquarters at UC Berkeley
-- the Synthesis Undergraduate Engineering Education Coalition  and the
ModularChem Consortium (MC2) . Both Synthesis and MC2
enjoy broad geographic diversity; a balance in size, mission, and institutional
type; and a strong record of collaboration. Most of the multimedia case studies
presented in this proposal have already been developed or are under
development, entirely with funds from NSF and matching partners. In part, the
GE Fund grant will allow us to extend or modify the development of this
multimedia courseware to accomplish the broader integrative goals outlined in
Synthesis (www.synthesis.org) is comprised of eight diverse educational
institutions whose mission is to reform engineering education by developing new
curricular and pedagogical models that integrate multidisciplinary content,
teamwork and communication, hands-on and laboratory experiences, open-ended
problem formulation and solving, and examples of "best practices" from
industry. Synthesis has produced multimedia courseware that integrates the
diverse analytic, design, experimental and intuitive skills that are required
by a practicing engineer. This material can be readily transferred and adapted
to different student and campus needs utilizing
NEEDS (National Engineering
Education Delivery System - http://www.needs.org/), an entirely new courseware
development and distribution system that provides widespread Internet access to
a growing multimedia courseware database.
The mission of the ModularChem Consortium (MC2) is to develop
new curricula, multimedia materials and methods which will enhance the
appreciation and learning of chemistry. To accomplish this mission, a modular
approach to teaching chemistry in the first two years of the undergraduate
curriculum is being developed and evaluated. The modules, typically 2-4 weeks
of classroom or laboratory materials, present fundamental chemistry to students
in the context of a real-world problem or application and emphasize the links
between chemistry and other disciplines. (www.cchem.berkeley.edu:8080)
We propose to the GE Foundation a grant of $450,000 to enhance the
learning experience of a large number of Berkeley students. We will restructure
our lower division courses and develop and implement Technology Enhanced
Learning models using animation/ visualization/ simulation/ design cases as
integrating mechanisms for calculus/ chemistry/ physics/ engineering in lower
division undergraduate education at UC Berkeley. We will accomplish this by
enabling interdisciplinary teams of key faculty, lecturers, and graduate
students instructors, to be known as GE Faculty Fellows, who will work
together to accomplish five significant goals:
- develop meaningful interdisciplinary collaborations specifically aimed at
changing teaching and learning styles in math, physical sciences and
- transform and enhance pedagogical styles in these disciplines ;
- design integrating physics, chemistry, engineering and mathematics curricula
- capitalize on instructional technology to improve student learning; and
- conduct educational studies to measure the impact of the changes, with a
focus on measuring student learning outcomes as needed by the disciplines
5.1 Develop meaningful interdisciplinary collaborations specifically aimed
at changing teaching and learning styles in math, physical sciences and
Through this initiative, teams of faculty members, instructors, and graduate
student instructors from mathematics, chemistry, physics, engineering, and
education will share curricular ideas and work together to revise existing
courses, explore common curriculum modules that cut across courses, and work on
collaborative teaching methods. We are targeted key gateway courses to students
in engineering and physical sciences. These courses are key to retention and
have high enrollments, totaling over 2,200 students each year.
This will be accomplished through the creation of a group of GE Faculty
Fellows, who will form into interdisciplinary teams to reexamine lower-division
"gateway" courses. These Fellows will work with participating departments to
revise the content and pedagogy of existing course sequences in math science
and engineering and design new interdisciplinary modules. Faculty Fellows will
be selected from departmental nominations with approval by an interdisciplinary
advisory committee, attend summer and academic year workshops and seminar
series, form a cross-disciplinary
community of teaching scholars, participate in on-going
curricular development and discourse during the academic year, and serve as
resources on teaching and learning for their departments. The result of this
three-year program will be to "mainstream" the new curricular innovations, new
teaching methods, and additional assessment techniques so that student
learning in the crucial "gateway" courses is significantly improved.
Interdisciplinary teams for lower division gateway courses and articulated
Engineering courses (i.e., those that require gateway courses be taken
previously or at the same time) will be invited to apply for the GE Faculty
Fellows program. After a rigorous and competitive process, a small group of
five-ten will meet in summer and academic-year seminars and workshops to
develop the cross-disciplinary
aspects of current courses; optimize the content of current courses; develop
interdisciplinary case studies, open ended problems, and curricular modules;
and develop effective pedagogy and assessment of student learning. Teams would
comprise, for example, several faculty members from different disciplines at
all levels, or a faculty member teamed with instructors and/or GSIs from
different departments. Fellows will receive a summer stipend, research
assistance for curriculum development, and student technology assistance. An
Advisory Committee comprising faculty, department chairs, students and
representatives from industry will provide guidance, particularly in the early
phases of the program, including selecting the Fellows. Fellows will meet
during the semester they are teaching their revised courses to share tips and
ideas and troubleshoot problems.
We will make the Fellows program prestigious and well accounted for in our
faculty and instructor promotion and evaluation process. With the leadership of
the deans and department chairs, we will promote the program so that it is
viewed as an honor for those who are selected. In support of this, we have the
commitment of participating Department Chairs and Deans to highly value
Fellows participation when decisions are made about faculty merit and
promotions (see letters of support in Appendix A). The involvement of
instructors and GSI's, in addition to faculty, are important in this process as
they will become the faculty of the future.
5.2 Transform and enhance pedagogical styles in these disciplines.
Science and technology teaching is most effective when it captures methods
scientists and engineers use: manipulating materials and hardware, exploring
phenomena through hands-on
laboratories, actively observing phenomena, and discussing, debating, and
challenging different interpretations and possible applications. Research shows
that students learn more, retain knowledge longer, and enjoy their courses
better when they are active participants in the learning process. Yet most
faculty fail to incorporate active learning strategies in their courses. We
believe that faculty/instructor development and technology enhanced instruction
are the key enablers for our curricular and pedagogical goals. Modern
hypermedia user-interface design encourages the kind of integration and
connection linking that we envision. But multimedia courseware development must
be coupled with faculty and instructor training in the appropriate use of
technology and in new research on pedagogy and learning styles.
Through the summer and academic year seminars, workshops, and on-going
collaborations, Fellows will begin to implement new instructional techniques
such as collaborative learning strategies, self-directed
learning methods, classroom assessments, peer instruction, team teaching, and
student inquiry processes. The emphasis will be on exploring and instituting
pedagogical strategies that provide Fellows with ongoing feedback on how well
students are learning the material. They will explore effective assessment
techniques for monitoring student progress throughout the class, including on-line
assessments, and electronic discussion strategies (e.g., use of e-mail,
electronic bulletin boards or on-line discussion software).
The most effective model for structured study groups is the math/science
workshop model developed by Uri Treisman for the Professional Development
Program (PDP) at the University of California, Berkeley. Participating minority
students earned on the average one letter grade higher in their math and
science courses than non-participating minority student. In addition, they
exceeded the average grades achieved by white student in the same
-- Zimmer, et al., [43: pp. 49,52]
Key to the GE Fellows program is the concept of recruiting teams of Fellows who
are interested in teaching a revised course together during the academic-year.
These instructors will be using learning approaches that have had demonstrated
success. These will include techniques involving peers, such as cooperative
learning [24-25], facilitated group learning [26-27], and peer instruction
, as well as techniques for improving independent and individual learning,
such as reflection, self-explanation,
[29-31]. Berkeley faculty in the School of Education are world leaders in
research in these areas and their expertise will be part of the
faculty/instructor development and assessment efforts (e.g., [32-37]). To
transform teaching and traditional pedagogical styles, we will capitalize on
past work in the Synthesis Coalition [1, 37-39], the MC2  and
others (e.g., [14-23, 40-42]). We build on the success of the intensive
sessions [26-27, 43] of the Professional Development Program (PDP), Minority
Engineering Programs (MEP), Physics Scholars Program and the Chemistry Scholars
Program as well. These programs emphasize collaborative group learning and
active learning models with carefully crafted curriculum materials designed to
engender student-initiated inquiry and scientific thinking, and develop the
foundation for autonomous learning in our first and second year math, science
and engineering students. Finally, we will rely heavily on the a compendium of
best teaching practices and tools for evaluating teaching, and exemplary
practices developed through UC Berkeley's Office of Educational Development
under the direction of Assistant Vice Chancellor Barbara Davis [44-46].
Our intent is to help Fellows develop a learner-centered
culture within their courses. We anticipate that over the three-year
grant period, more than 3,000 students would be exposed to these new learning
techniques. As these techniques are "mainstreamed," we expect to be able to
document improved student learning for the more than 2,200 Berkeley students
taking these courses each year.
5.3 Design integrating physics, chemistry, engineering and mathematics
curricula and courseware and capitalize on instructional technology to improve
student learning. We propose to use an open-ended problem-solving framework
in presenting lower division students with exercises that demonstrate the
integration of calculus, physics, and chemistry as fundamental components of
science and engineering practice. Open-ended problem-solving generally starts
with a simple model for the system under study. Assumptions are examined and
results checked to determine if an answer to the problem has been obtained or
if further study using a more complex model is warranted. In many cases,
experimental work will be needed to resolve important issues. This approach
shows students that solving problems of practical importance requires knowledge
from many domains. Thus it promotes integrative thinking across domains and
complements rather than replaces traditional assignments.
Within our problem-solving framework we will establish the dual roles of
calculus as the language needed to express models of physical systems as well
as the means of establishing relationships among variables. Computation is
introduced naturally as the means of producing answers within the framework of
a problem. The essence of the pedagogy in using this approach is to start with
a very simple physical or chemical principle that can be connected to products
for which case studies are available. The initial studies draw upon
computational resources while remaining conceptually straightforward. As
students are introduced to more material in the math and science courses, the
models used within the framework can become more sophisticated. Using the case
studies or hands-on experiments, students can compare results from their models
to actual experimental data for assessment of the predictive value of the
models. These data will be the inputs to visually stimulating animation and
Fig. 1: Kolb's model of experiential learning. Integrative learning is
promoted by cycling through four different cognitive modes .
Science and engineering problems will be presented within this problem-solving
framework and used in instructional settings that build on constructivist,
learning style sensitive, experiential learning pedagogical models [47-49]. The
Kolb model  of experiential learning (Fig. 1) is of particular importance
to the physical sciences and engineering as it is designed to promote
integrative learning by cycling students through four cognitive/ experiential
modes that are key to success in professional practice: reflective observation,
active experimentation, concrete experience, and abstract conceptualization.
Both constructivist and experiential models are appropriate for TEL as they
accommodate learning style differences and promote the autonomous learning
skills needed to prepare students for lifelong learning.
Examples of this problem-solving framework are presented below, beginning with
the physics of a force acting on a mass with connections to feedback control.
This basic physical principle connects to representative case study areas, the
computer disk drive and the automotive airbag. The GE Fund will allow us to
extend these cases and others developed by Synthesis and MC2 (which
are currently only being used in courses in the Colleges of Engineering and
Chemistry) for use in interdisciplinary curricular modules in calculus and
Mechanical Motion and Actuation Example. An overarching theme in
engineering design is the precise placement of a mass by applying an external
force. The necessary physical concepts of simple mechanical systems are
typically introduced during a student's first semester in physics, thus it will
be possible to create a setting in either physics or mathematics courses where
the students can integrate their knowledge of physics and calculus to approach
the problem. The general idea is to introduce this problem initially in an
abstract way to show that solutions for position and velocity of the mass can
be generated for arbitrarily complex force vs. time inputs. The
pedagogical purpose of this exercise is to establish the modeling technique and
the connection of the mathematical concept of a derivative to the physical
concepts associated with conservation of momentum. The next step is to
introduce the concepts of feedback control and show that velocity and/or
position control can be done rather simply, and that the solution techniques
already established continue to work without any significant change even when
the problem becomes more complicated. Nonlinearity enters this part of the
problem very naturally in that it makes physical sense that there is a maximum
force that any real device can actually exert, so actuator saturation can be
included in the simulation. Once the control problem has been explored enough
to know that feedback control works, has stability limits, etc., engineering
questions about system performance can be posed -- e.g., actuator sizing
to meet certain specifications, controller tuning for best stabilization time,
minimum overshoot, or other similar criteria. Numerical analysis is introduced
immediately so that students are not limited in the scope of problems they can
tackle. The mathematical development of this framework and how it might be
integrated with Matlab(TM) exercises in provided in Appendix B.
Fig. 2: The multimedia case study of the disk drive under development
highlights engineering design, manufacturing processes, competitive practices
in industry and research challenges. The GE grant will allow us to integrate
this case with principles from calculus, physics and chemistry.
Disk Drive Example. The next step is to tie this general force/motion
problem specifically to our product-oriented cases, such as the design of disk
drives (Fig. 2) and air bag actuation systems. Multimedia cases on these
problems have been developed or are being developed by Synthesis and
MC2, funded by the National Science Foundation and collaborating
industries. The immediate connection to the disk drive is in head positioning,
which is a specific example of the general position control problem posed
above. This specific system provides initially for dimensionalization of the
problem so that sizes, actual speeds, etc., have some reality for the students
who can watch such systems actually work. It then connects to the electricity
and magnetism section of physics by looking at the voice-coil actuator that is
commonly used on these devices and examining its design, modeling, etc.
Modeling of electric circuits, inductance, etc., comes in here, but takes
exactly the same mathematical form as the mechanical models already used.
Again, the concept of the derivative and its critical role in representing
energetic relationships in physical systems is stressed. Its model can then be
included with the mechanical model to get overall system performance. A further
study can introduce mechanical compliance and thus resonance, a common problem
in disk head positioners that arises because of the need to make them very
Automobile Airbag Chemistry Example. The design and operation of the
automobile airbag system provides an interesting and relevant problem that
integrates math, physics, and chemistry. To be able to design a functioning
airbag system, one must understand the chemistry of gases and gas-forming
reactions, the physics of acceleration and the forces involved in an impact,
and the mathematics that aid the understanding and determination of the optimum
rate of change of volume of the bag. The connections between change in momentum
and potential for injury give students a view of reality that they can apply in
many other situations as well. Studies of mechanical motion and actuation can
be connected within a framework based on the chemistry and gas dynamics of the
airbag which will result in a model predicting the expansion of the airbag.
Students will also have data from actual airbags available for comparative
Fig. 3: The "virtual office" for the automotive airbag case.
Interactive multimedia software involving the chemistry of gas production in
airbag systems is presently under development within the ModularChem
Consortium. The software places students in a virtual office (Fig. 3) with a
virtual laboratory (Fig. 4) to explore the chemistry of gas-forming reactions
and pressure-volume-temperature relationships, as well as view video clips of
airbag design and operation. Students can also dissect the airbag exploded and
learn how it is constructed. Within the software package, the students are
provided with assignments of increasing difficulty related to airbag design,
with a major focus on the concepts of stoichiometry, balancing chemical
equations, and the relationships between pressure, volume and temperature of
Fig.4: The "virtual Laboratory" where students can simulate the air
pressure dynamics and other physical/chemical effects.
Integration of the existing airbag module with math and physics will entail
production of a new branch in the interactive courseware that will allow the
student to explore the mathematical and physical relationships behind the rate
of inflation of the airbag, as well as the force with which the airbag and the
body of the driver collide. Sample questions to engage students in mathematics
and physics include (1) curve shape analysis, (2) air bag dynamics, and (3)
force analysis. See Appendix C for further development of these questions.
5.4 Conduct educational studies to measure the impact of the changes, with a
focus on measuring student learning outcomes as needed by the disciplines
involved. The introductory courses in math, physics, chemistry, and
engineering (Math 1A, 1B, 53, 54, Physics 7A, 7B and 7C, Chemistry 1A) and
articulated Engineering courses (e.g., introduction to engineering science,
circuits, statics, materials, mechanics of materials, freshman/sophomore
computing) constitute big hurdles for students at UC Berkeley and are most in
need of curriculum reform. Our goal is to link these curricula through the
interdisciplinary course modules, such as the examples described in the
previous section. The teams of GE Fellows will identify unifying scientific
principles, mathematical concepts, and student learning activities that will
better link the disciplines with the goal of helping students gain a better
grasp of the subject matter.
Homework, too will change. For example, while homework and exam problems that
have one "correct" solution are less time consuming to grade, these kinds of
problems engender narrow perspectives, memorization, and the misperception that
"all problems can be solved in 10 minutes". By encouraging Fellows to design
meaningful learning assessments that emphasize conceptual understanding and
problem-solving abilities, we can change the way students learn by modifying
the outcomes used to measure success. Where appropriate, learning assessments
exercises will be accessible through the Internet and World Wide Web to allow
for immediate feedback to students, geography-independent
access, and asynchronous learning. In addition, Fellows will gain the tools and
techniques to conduct their own ongoing assessments of student learning during
the course offerings.
Synthesis and MC2 both have in-depth formative and summative
assessment plans in place which will form the basis for our cross-departmental
assessment program, including student questionnaires, on-line assessment
methods, portfolio analysis and involvement of students, staff, faculty and
industry. The plans include data for benchmarking, and both formative and
summative assessment involving industry. We will track student grades,
retention rates in courses, enrollment rates in our majors and retention rates
in majors between semesters. We will ask students about the adequacy of the
coordination of material between lectures and section. We will ask students if
they feel the technology-enhanced problem-solving approach was beneficial,
whether the teaching style was effective, whether they worked collaboratively
with other students outside of class more than for other courses, etc. Both the
lecturers and the GSIs will be asked about the adequacy of support and
effectiveness of communication between GSIs and the lecturer. Each individual
department will also be conducting its own assessment of the impact of their
program on student achievement and will be providing comparative data. In
addition, students who have completed the new courses will be contacted a year
after having completed the course and be queried concerning lasting impressions
or affects of the course that they feel were significant. Other indicators of
success include: student self-assessments, changes in student performance on
complex projects via evaluation of portfolios of work on design and open-ended
problems, number of classroom assessment techniques employed by faculty, and
measures of student faculty satisfaction.
We are fortunate to be working with Prof. Alan Schoenfeld, one of the nation's
leaders in mathematical assessment [32-34] on the Advisory Committee to this
project, along with Barbara Davis, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student
Life-Educational Development and author of numerous books and articles on
teaching and assessment [44-46]. We will also recruit graduate students from
our School of Education's programs in Mathematics, Science and Technology to
serve as graduate student researchers associated with each team of Fellows. Dr.
Flora McMartin, the Synthesis Coalition's Director of Assessment, will serve on
the Fellows Advisory Committee. She is a Ph.D. graduate of UC Berkeley's School
of Education with over 17 years in student services and program assessment in
higher education. Here recent work in scalable techniques for portfolio
outcomes assessment will be a valuable resources to the Fellows program.
We plan to begin designing the GE Fellows Program in Spring '97 and will
seek nominations for GE Fellows to begin starting Summer '97. As both a "top
down" and "bottom up" approach are needed for successful reforms at UC
Berkeley, we can't predict ahead of time which courses will be targeted which
year. This will depend on the faculty nominations and the Advisory Committee
review. We will encourage faculty/instructor teams to focus on the freshman
courses during the first two years and sophomore courses during the second and
As Deans of the two major units involved -- Physical Sciences and
Engineering -- the Co-PIs are uniquely positioned to successfully complete this
program. They will co-chair the Advisory Committee, which will be responsible
for selecting Faculty Fellows and evaluating their progress. The Advisory
Committee will be composed of Department Chairs, pro-active faculty with a
successful track record in curricular reform, professional staff and student
and industry representatives. A list of the membership of the Advisory
Committee and their Curriculum Vitae are provided in Appendix D. The College of
Engineering and the Synthesis Coalition will provide the administrative support
for this proposal.
In addition, all major decisions which involve campus facilities and
campus-wide plans for infrastructure support of instructional technology will
be submitted to the Instructional Technology (IT) Committee of the Chancellor's
Campus Committee on Computing Policy Board (CCCPB) for comment. This proposal
has been reviewed by the IT Committee and the PIs have incorporated its
feedback. Computer facilities to support the proposal will be made part of the
overall strategic development plan for the IT Committee. The funds in this
project will be leveraged by substantial computer-based studio and lab
construction currently underway. The IT Committee is currently co-chaired by
Alice Agogino (on the Advisory Board for this proposal) and J. W. (Jack)
McCredie (the Associate Vice Chancellor for Information Systems and
The budget of $150,000 a year for three years would cover funding for
Fellows, Graduate Student Researchers to assist the Fellows, student technology
assistants, supplies and expenses, travel, and faculty development assistance.
The funds will also support a cross-departmental Assessment Coordinator who
will be supervised by the Co-PIs and serve on the GE Fellows Advisory
Committee. A detailed budget is included in Appendix E.
All material in digital form will be made available on WWW servers and
on the NEEDS (National Engineering Education Delivery System) database, an
on-line database of and retrieval system for multimedia engineering courseware
and other educational material. Where available there will also be links to
on-line WWW versions of the courseware. All courseware will be submitted for
evaluation by the NEEDS editorial review board. Finally, we will set up a Web
site of best practices in promoting student learning in the sciences that
emerge from the project. An annual report will be submitted to the GE fund in
both paper form and electronic form on the WWW.
This GE Fellows initiative has arrived at an ideal time to initiate
dramatic improvements in the quality of our undergraduate programs in
calculus-based disciplines at UC Berkeley. It is the first time that key
faculty from mathematics, chemistry, physics and engineering have joined forces
to integrate and reform our curricula, using information technologies as the
enabler. Our ultimate goal is to improve student learning and motivation in
lower division (freshman/ sophomore) math and science courses by connecting the
abstract material in the traditional curriculum to design and analysis problems
whose solutions are realized through computer-based animations, simulations and
interactive multimedia design cases. Our focus on "outcomes assessment" will
steer our interdisciplinary teams of faculty/instructors/GSIs to reform
curricula and teaching methods towards improved student learning and
preparation for professional practice.
We are targeting gateway courses for engineering students which have a
significant impact on retention and with large enrollments. The average annual
enrollment for these courses is: 1,260 students in Math 1A, 1,600 students in
Math 1B, 760 students in Math 53, 850 students in Math 54, 2,100 students in
Chem1A., 800 students in Physics 7A, 650 students in Physics 7B and 500
students in Physics 7C. All of these courses are required for most Engineering
majors; Engineering having approximately 500 freshman students and 400
sophomore students each year. During the period of the GE grant, we expect that
at least half of these courses will be the focus of the Berkeley-GE Faculty
Fellows projects along with articulating lower division courses in Engineering.
As the curricular content and pedagogical practices are "mainstreamed," we will
ultimately be able to document improved student learning for the more than
2,200 Berkeley students taking these courses each year.
We see the Fellows as serving as catalysts for their departments, promoting
curriculum change and learner-centered
pedagogical approaches, and acting as resources to other faculty. These
Fellows will lend their expertise to the development of other courses in their
departments, multiplying the effects of the Berkeley-GE Fellows program.
Although our proposed process of integrating the modular approach into the
curriculum is step-wise and evolutionary, the resulting systemic changes will
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