Revised General Education Courses
A principal STEMTEC goal is to develop course materials and learning strategies to enrich introductory courses in all scientific
disciplines and mathematics for future teachers. Courses developed by the curriculum teams will employ the five teaching
strategies we have discussed and move from a lecture mode towards an inquiry-based, interactive format to stimulate students
interest and encourage them to explore courses in other scientific disciplines. Other students will also benefit from the course
changes, and they may become interested in the teaching profession. The methods used to improve these courses apply equally
well to introductory courses designed specifically for science, mathematics, and engineering majors. Specific techniques are
illustrated by the following examples:
- Systems that enable the professor to better monitor student comprehension. Example: The Classtalk electronic
feedback system at UMass.
- Development of new multimedia materials for integration into the lecture-discussion format. Example: STCC's
multimedia classrooms and labs.
- Incorporation of computer technology to drive self-study modules and intelligent tutoring systems. Example: The
UMass introductory chemistry courses have reduced dropout rates by making extensive use of self-study
modules in place of the conventional discussion sections.
- Conducting exercises and investigations during class time which involve teamwork and cooperative learning. Example:
Smith's Intensive Calculus with Discrete Mathematics.
- Providing a research framework as an option or a requirement to encourage students to design and carry out their own
research projects. Example: All Hampshire College freshmen must complete independent scientific research
- Including teaching and community service activities. Example: Amherst College chemistry students focus on water
quality issues in the community. Such experiences are especially good at motivating women and minority students who
often are encouraged by seeing the community implications of their studies.
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Created June 2000
Author: STEMTEC Webmaster