Workshop: Developing Society-Relevant Activities in Upper Division Core Science Courses

Part of the InTeGrate University of Northern Colorado Program ModelSee the Activities Developed »

As a means of promoting retention of students in upper division core science courses, activities and assignments with interdisciplinary applications and societal relevance were incorporated into such courses in our department. In the semester prior to implementation of these upper-division activities, we held a 2-hour workshop in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences for faculty involved in the project. The workshop had the following goals for participating faculty:

  • Become familiar with InTeGrate goals
  • Begin developing an activity to implement in an upper-division core course
  • Receive peer feedback on initial ideas
  • Discuss how we will collect and archive assessment data

Below, we present an agenda for this workshop that could be modified for use in other programs or schools. In some schools, where faculty teach few or no introductory level courses, this provides a good opportunity for them to see examples of materials, and consider teaching these upper level courses from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Sample Workshop Agenda

1) Discussion: What do InTeGrate Activities Look Like? (20-30 min - PPT for Faculty Activity Workshop (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) PRIVATE FILE 91kB Feb22 16))

Begin the workshop with a short introduction to InTeGrate activities. What do they look like? What are common goals and elements? How will our upper division activities be similar or different?

2) Work on Activities - (Use attached worksheet and rubric: ~45 min) Activity Development and Evaluation Guidelines (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) PRIVATE FILE 109kB Feb22 16)

Provide faculty an opportunity to work on their activities. We used the attached worksheet, along with a rubric we developed based on the InTeGrate module evaluation rubric.

3) Sharing what you've done (~20 min)
Spend some time considering how you might collect data on learning from the activities that have been developed. Spend a few minutes brainstorming ideas for assessment, and how you might keep track of data.