Discipline-Based Education Research Group


Date of this Version


Document Type



Presented to UNL Discipline-Based Education Research Group, 2012.


Copyright 2012, T. Jack Morris.


I attended a meeting at U Minn from August 4-6 that was the first National Forum on improving undergraduate education through active learning spaces. The forum was held in the newly constructed and ultra modern “science teaching and student services building” on the U. Minnesota Twin Cities campus. The focus was on advancing practice and research on technology-enhanced learning spaces for undergraduate education with a focus on STEM disciplines. I will talk about the design of such interactive teaching spaces, some of affecting the use of these spaces and some successful practices that have been used to teach science to undergraduates in spaces specifically designed for active learning. We also had the opportunity to build networks with colleagues in order to advance their campus efforts. The presenters included Bob Beichner, an innovator of the Scale Up program; Larry Michaelsen, an expert on Team-based learning, and Robin Wright, host and developer of an interactive version of Introductory Biology at U Minn. I will try to summarize some of the enthusiasm and promise for this form of instruction and how this movement away from strictly lecture hall based instruction is having a national impact on science education at universities nation-wide. I will also introduce you to our local effort to embrace this form of instruction.