Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

June 4: An overview of pioneering pedagogies

Essays, Stories & Reports:

  • What works: A PKAL essay
    Some Lessons Learned
    - Jeanne L. Narum, Director - Project Kaleidoscope
    Excerpted from Student-Active Science: Models of Innovation in College Science Teaching. Ann P. McNeal & Charlene D'Avanzo, eds. 1996.
    "To understand where we are in the process of transforming undergraduate science, mathematics, engineering and technology (SME&T) education in the last years of the 20th century, it is important to think first about why reform was needed. It will help to explore what went wrong, how teaching and learning, research and education in the sciences and mathematics in the nation's undergraduate community came to have deep-seated problems."

  • What works: An essay
    Using The Learning Knowledge Base: The Connection Between Problem Solving and Cooperative Group Techniques
    - Kenneth Heller, Professor of Physics - University of Minnesota
    - Patricia Heller, Associate Professor of Curriculum & Instruction - University of Minnesota
    "There is no known "best" way to teach. The most effective teaching method depends on the specific goals of a course, the strengths of the instructor, the needs of the students, and the constraints imposed by the situation. Determining a few achievable course goals is the first, and most important step in teaching."

  • What works: An essay
    Creating a Supportive Environment for Major Curricular Changes
    - Judith A. Ramaley, Assistant Director for Education & Human Resources - National Science Foundation
    "In higher education, change tends to be continuous but fairly marginal, often taking the form of piecemeal or isolated efforts at improvement. Most campuses do not currently offer conditions that can support major curricular changes that must be sustained over time. In this chapter, I will describe how Portland State University has approached the challenge of curricular reform meant to improve the delivery and quality of undergraduate science education, and draw some lessons from our experience that may be useful to others who have similar aspirations."


Identify pedagogical pioneers on your own campus. What makes them pioneers? How did they succeed?