Science Teaching Journal Club

The Science Teaching Journal Club is a partnership of the Science Literacy Program and the Teaching Engagement Program. Each week we read, discuss, and consider how to implement ideas from an article or book that explores issues relevant to teaching and learning in college science classrooms.  We invite participants from all ranks and disciplines to join us for these sessions, which we use to model evidence-based teaching practices.

This spring the journal club will meet Thursdays at 9 a.m. via Zoom

Meeting URL:│Meeting ID: 369 256 082

Spring 2020 Journal Club Readings:

Many UO faculty and graduate students are in the position of having to teach their courses remotely for the first time. The overall principles of good teaching are independent of whether the course is delivered face-to-face, remotely, or a blend of the two. But when we teach remotely, we need to pay special attention to certain areas of the course, such as building community, working to maintain academic integrity, and designing an active learning environment. We will devote this term in the Science Teaching Journal Club to discussing these and other issues related to teaching and learning remotely. As always, we will ground our discussion in articles from the literature and consider how to apply what we learn to our own classes.

Week One (4/2):

We begin the term with a paper that assesses which features of online course design have the greatest influence on student performance. In other words, what do we most need to be paying attention to? To prepare for our meeting, please read:

Jaggars, S. S., & Xu, D. (2016). How do online course design features influence student performance? Computers & Education, 95, 270-284.

Specific Review Standards from the QM Higher Education Rubric, Sixth Edition,

Week Two (4/9):

Our paper for this week addresses how to facilitate collaboration and group work in online courses. To prepare for our meeting, please read:

Haythornthwaite, C. (2006). Facilitating collaboration in online learning. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 10(1), 7-24.

Week Three (4/16):

This week in the journal club we continue our readings about remote teaching with a book chapter that takes a broad look at best practices for the online classroom. To prepare for our meeting, please read:

Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2016). Chapter 3, Best practices for teaching online: Ten plus four. The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. Available as an ebook from the UO Library.

Week Four (4/23):

Use of active learning strategies in face-to-face classrooms improves student learning, increases retention in STEM majors, and reduces achievement gaps between different populations. How can we translate these strategies into the remote classroom?  Try to think about this question as you read our paper for this week, which describes some commonly used active learning strategies.  To prepare for our meeting, please read:

McConnell, D. A., Chapman, L., Czajka, C. D., Jones, J. P., Ryker, K. D., & Wiggen, J. (2017). Instructional utility and learning efficacy of common active learning strategies. Journal of Geoscience Education, 65(4), 604-625.

Week Five (4/30):

Exam and homework assignment design is influenced by instructors’ need to strike a balance between making exams and subsequent feedback fair and formative and the ability to provide that feedback promptly.  Our paper this week describes a system for speeding up the grading process while providing substantive feedback and maintaining fairness. To prepare for our meeting, please read:

Singh, A., Karayev, S., Gutowski, K., & Abbeel, P. (2017, April). Gradescope: a fast, flexible, and fair system for scalable assessment of handwritten work. In Proceedings of the fourth (2017) ACM conference on learning@ scale (pp. 81-88).

Week Six (5/7):

We have all noticed that meetings taking place via Zoom feel a bit different than in-person ones. We are more self-conscious about informal chatting before meetings start, and it’s harder to read body language and get a sense of who will initiate or speak next in a conversation. Our reading this week addresses the latter problem by presenting a strategy for structuring work in breakout rooms. To prepare for our meeting, please read:

Saltz, J., & Heckman, R. (2020). Using Structured Pair Activities in a Distributed Online Breakout Room. Online Learning, 24(1).

Week Seven (5/14):

In these days of teaching remotely, it is often necessary to make videos to explain course concepts. But which type of video is most effective? A voice-over PowerPoint? Your “talking head” inset into slides showing the content? Video of you in a classroom setting? Read this week’s paper to get some answers:

Choe, R. C., Scuric, Z., Eshkol, E., Cruser, S., Arndt, A., Cox, R., … & Crosbie, R. H. (2019). Student Satisfaction and Learning Outcomes in Asynchronous Online Lecture Videos. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 18(4), ar55.

Week Eight (5/21):

Members of groups underrepresented in STEM fields typically do not perform as well in their STEM courses as their overrepresented peers. However, a new meta-analysis shows that active learning can help reduce achievement gaps for these underrepresented students. To learn more and prepare for this week’s meeting, please read:

Theobald, E. J., Hill, M. J., Tran, E., Agrawal, S., Arroyo, E. N., Behling, S., … & Freeman, S. (2020). Active learning narrows achievement gaps for underrepresented students in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and math. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(12), 6476-6483.

Week Nine (5/28):

As the end of the term draws near, many faculty and students are expressing concern that remote final exams afford more opportunity to cheat than face-to-face exams do. What steps can we take to reduce academic dishonesty? This week’s reading provides some ideas:

Corrigan-Gibbs, H., Gupta, N., Northcutt, C., Cutrell, E., & Thies, W. (2015). Deterring cheating in online environments. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 22(6), 1-23.

Week Ten (6/4):

We face the prospect of offering some courses completely asynchronously in fall. But research shows that members of minoritized groups are less likely to succeed in online courses than their non-minority peers. Designing these courses with equity in mind can help reduce the achievement gap. This week’s reading, directed to a STEM audience, provides guidance:

Pacansky-Brock, M., Smedshammer, M., & Vincent-Layton, K. (forthcoming). Humanizing Online Teaching to Equitize Higher Education. ShapingEDU