Core Strategies in Teaching in Undergraduate STEM Lab classes

By on January 25, 2017

Core Strategies in Teaching in Undergraduate STEM Lab classes

Leader: Goutam Sarker, PhD Candidate in Biology, (

Description: This learning community will discuss various aspects of teaching strategies in lab settings. There will be six community meetings in this semester which will cover several aspects of teaching in laboratory classes.

Location and Time: Biweekly; 6 meetings; Wednesdays 10:00 -11:00 am. Meeting Place: LS 128

1st Meeting, February 08, 2017: CIRTL and its mission; Student-Instructor interaction

2nd Meeting, February 22, 2017: Critical thinking and active learning

3rd Meeting, March 08, 2017: Technology versus traditional lab class approach

4th Meeting, March 29, 2017: Being passionate and enthusiastic

5th Meeting, April 05, 2017: Teaching students with special needs (students with disabilities)

6th Meeting, April 19, 2017: Review of the overall teaching strategies in Lab classes



Previous Meetings

Meeting 1: 02/08/2017

Problem: Some students do not know the name of the Instructor, their office number or even the courses they are taking.

Diagnosis of the problem (Possible reasons)

  • Maybe students did not experience close Instructor-student relationship in High School.
  • Maybe the students are apathetic to study.
  • Maybe students only care about receiving a good grade but not in Instructor-student relationship.
  • Students are not aware of their responsibilities.
  • Maybe some instructors are not much engaging to the students.
  • Sometimes for some labs, TAs are not responsible for making a quiz or test for students. It creates a discrepancy between the lessons the TAs are preparing for the lab and the questions they are using to test their students. This discrepancy could lead the students to become less interested in Instructor-student interaction.


Outcome (What can we do?)

  • Designing a common course for both major and non-major students could help.
  • From the first day of the lab, instructors should remind the students about their responsibilities.
  • The Instructor should guide the students properly.
  • The Instructors should convey the expectations for the lab in each class.
  • The Instructor should try to recognize their students by their names provided that it is a small class.
  • Students want a real-world relationship in their learning. So the instructors should relate their lessons to the real world.
  • TAs should have some role in quiz and test preparation.