1. Sehoya Cotner
  2. https://cbs.umn.edu/cotner-lab
  3. Associate Professor
  5. University of Minnesota
  1. Hillary Barron
  2. Graduate Research Assistant
  4. University of Minnesota
  1. Lorelei Patrick
  2. Postdoctoral Researcher
  4. University of Minnesota

Building Excellence in Scientific Teaching (BEST)

NSF Awards: 1712033

2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Undergraduate, Graduate

Building Excellence with Scientific Teaching (BEST) is a three-year IUSE project that addresses a critical challenge in undergraduate STEM education by developing highly effective teaching assistants (TAs). This theoretically-grounded program includes an intensive Scientific Teaching training workshop prior to a TA’s first semester in the teaching lab, followed by training modules distributed throughout the semester. Currently in its second year, BEST has trained over 70 undergraduate, and over 30 graduate-level TAs, largely focusing on inclusive teaching in large-enrollment introductory courses. BEST includes a multi-part assessment strategy to determine the degree to which a Scientific Teaching training series leads to increases in (a) undergraduate TA use of evidence-based practice in the teaching lab; (b) undergraduate student acquisition of science-process skills; and (c) TA and student self-efficacy with respect to science ability. Critically, BEST ensures that thousands of students will learn biology via evidence-based practices of active learning, assessment, and inclusivity.

This video provides an introduction to the challenges associated with preparing TAs to facilitate inquiry, the design and implementation of BEST, and evidence for program effectiveness. 

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