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Teaching DIscovery Day 2017 banner image

 

Since 2016, the College of Natural Sciences has held an annual Teaching Discovery Day to showcase teaching excellence college-wide and encourage discussion amongst participants regarding best practices and new ideas in science education and learning. Award-winning and innovative CNS faculty open their classrooms for observations. All participants are invited to visit showcase classrooms, guided by a faculty docent, and/or attend one of the interactive teaching workshops held throughout the day. Afterwards, teams are invited to engage in discussions over coffee or lunch.

Registration for this special event is now closed.

A previous year's showcase classroom schedule is below.

 

 Paired Courses

 Workshop

 

Preview showcase courses below. Click on each course name for more details.

COURSE / WORKSHOP INSTRUCTOR / PROGRAM START
TIME
END
TIME
LOCATION DOCENT
Workshop: What’s All This Fuss About Growth Mindset and Other Psychological Factors? Dana Center 9:00 AM 10:00 AM POB 2.402  

In recent years, everywhere few weeks there is a new article or book about the importance of fostering growth mindsets, resilience, and belonging in classrooms. What does it all mean? What action can we take? What tools are available? The Dana Center is a leader in translating this research into practice. Learn the answers to these questions and explore available resources.

M.427J: Differential Equations with Linear Algebra William Beckner 9:30 AM 11:00 AM CLA 0.130 Kristin Harvey

Differential equations describe dynamical change -- from physical phenomena such as fluid flow and heat variation to the structural analysis of data and information. Linear algebra provides mathematical tools to enable understanding for multi-dimensional perspective. Isaac Newton said it best: "the laws of nature are expressed by differential equations". Our objective is to teach students to use mathematics to break problems apart in pieces and use analytical techniques to find innovative solutions. What is the goal of Science -- to ask questions that decipher the fundamental structure of matter. This is a complete course covering topics from first-order differential equations to the classical partial differential equations of physics. While there is natural emphasis on technique the main focus is on ideas and the development of quantitative skill that will be useful after leaving the University. While difficult to predict the exact pace of a class, it is likely that in the week of Sept 20 we will discuss linear systems of differential equations.

SDS.321: Introduction to Probability & Statistics Bindu Viswanathan 9:30 AM 11:00 AM UTC 3.112 Kristin Harvey

This course provides an introduction to probability and statistics. The first part of the course covers the fundamentals of probability theory, including discrete and continuous random variables, multiple random variables, and limit theorems. This section of the course will also cover the application of probability to counting problems. The second part of the course will focus on classical statistical inference, covering parameter estimation, hypothesis testing, and confidence intervals. According to plan, topics covered on Sept 20th could include counting techniques and/or discrete random variables.

BCH.339N: Systems Biology/Bioinformatics Vishwanath Iyer 9:30 AM 11:00 AM GDC 1.406 Shelley Payne

An introduction to bioinformatics and systems biology, emphasizing quantitative analysis of high-throughput biological data and the underlying computational algorithms. Topics include basic programming, biological sequence analysis, genome sequencing and assembly, databases, pattern recognition, analysis of gene expression data, clustering and visualization, networks and synthetic biology. The goals are that students will learn to 1) Apply Python programming and computational analysis methods to analyze data in bioinformatics, genomics, and systems biology. 2) Pose biological questions and formulate hypotheses that can be tested by analysis of available datasets. 3) Communicate the results of their analysis and findings in a short presentation to peers. For Teaching Discovery Day 2018 we will likely be discussing some aspect of biological sequence analysis and/or how to query databases.

BIO.320: Cell Biology Martin Poenie 9:30 AM 11:00 AM JGB 2.218 Shelley Payne

The course covers the structure and function of cells in terms of its component molecules. Essentially all biological functions boil down to the function of cells. On September 20 it is likely we will be covering the cell membrane.

M.346: Applied Linear Algebra Francesco Maggi 9:30 AM 11:00 AM RLM 5.120 James Vick

The goal of the course is showing that the familiar diagonalization theorem from Linear Algebra is actually a manifestation of a more general principle, known as the spectral decomposition theorem. This principle is illustrated through a long series of applications inspired by Biology, Physics, Engineering and other applied sciences. On September 20 we should cover the concept of basis on an abstract vector space of finite dimension.

M.362K: Probability I Peter Mueller 9:30 AM 11:00 AM RLM 5.104 James Vick

We will cover chapter 3, in S. Ross, "First Course in Probability"; probably conditional probability, Bayes rule or independence (depending on how far we get in the first 3 weeks). The class will be traditional lecture style; around 60 students.

M.310P: Modern Mathematics: Plan II Daniel Knopf 9:30 AM 11:00 AM CMA 3.114 Deborah Walker

I tell my students that this course is analogous to a "music appreciation" course, except for math instead of music. I want these Plan II honors students to explore what insights can be gained by looking at the world through the lens of mathematics. We use examples from nature, art, and architecture, as well as other sources, to explore four broad themes: (1) certainty versus uncertainty, (2) symmetry, (3) modeling and optimality, and (4) pattern and abstraction. On September 20, we will begin unit (2) on symmetry, as found in nature, art, and architecture. By exploring symmetry, students will learn about the concept of a "group", one of the most important ideas in mathematics.

PBH.354: Epidemiology Richard Taylor 9:30 AM 11:00 AM UTC 4.110 Leanne Field

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health related states or events (including disease) in specified populations and the application of this study to control health problems. During this course, students study various methods to detect and enumerate endemic, epidemic, and pandemic diseases as well as outbreaks among populations.

Workshop: Increasing Student Buy-In UTeach 10:30 AM 11:30 AM POB 2.402  

Director of UTeach, Michael Marder, will be discussing three approaches to increasing student engagement with education goals.

  1. Experiential learning
  2. Make-up work
  3. Restorative justice
AST.301: Introduction to Astronomy Steven Finkelstein 11:00 AM 12:30 PM PAI 3.02 Can Kilic

This is a survey course over all areas of astronomy for non-science majors. This course is flipped, such that the entire lecture period focuses on active learning, including review of previous concepts, think-pair-share questions over new material, and active lecture tutorials on the new material. This specific class period will include review over lunar phases, and discussion and activities related to "Ancient Observables", with a focus on eclipses and the motion of planets in the night sky.

AST.376R: Practical Intro to Research Karl Gebhardt 11:00 AM 12:30 PM RLM 15.201 Can Kilic

This course is direct experience with research, from acquiring data, to analyzing, to plotting, and reporting. A primary goal is for the students to learn the python programming language and Linux tools. By Sept 20th, they will be making plots using current online datasets. We use the course to give the students the skills and confidence to work with researchers.

CH.301H: Principles of Chemistry I: Honors Alan Campion 11:00 AM 12:30 PM UTC 4.122 Dong-Ha Min

This is a rigorous introduction to chemistry, an honors course taught from the perspective of a physical chemist. It is calculus based. We will discuss classical descriptions of atomic and molecular structure and chemical bonding and very likely have introduced elementary quantum mechanics by the date of the lecture.

M.408C: Differential and Integral Calculus Thomas Chen 11:00 AM 12:30 PM RLM 4.102 Jennifer Austin

The syllabus for M408C includes most of the basic topics in the theory of functions of a real variable: Algebraic, trigonometric, logarithmic and exponential functions and their limits, continuity, derivatives, maxima and minima, integration, area under a curve, and volumes of revolution.

NSC.306M: Hands-On Science IV Antonia Chimonidou 11:00 AM 1:00 PM RLM 7.116 Cynthia LaBrake

Gravity Beyond Earth: in this activity, students explore Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation and the factors affecting the force between two masses. They use simulators to "discover" the equation describing this force and apply this equation to different objects. The goal for this activity is to go beyond gravity on the surface of the Earth and apply the new knowledge to understand how gravity keeps planets in orbit around a central star, etc.

BIO.366: Microbial Genetics Makkuni Jayaram 11:00 AM 12:30 PM PHR 2.116 Martha Maas

The underlying theme of the course is the mechanisms by which genetic rearrangements are brought about in cells. These include DNA recombination and repair. Based on these mechanisms, it is possible to program directed editing of specific genes within large genomes, including human chromosomes.

PBH.334: Global Health Richard Taylor 11:00 AM 12:30 PM UTC 3.124 Ruth Buskirk

Global Health is a course that focuses on collaborative actions taken to identify and address transnational concerns about the exposures and diseases that adversely affect human populations. This course offers opportunities for students to apply their public health knowledge skills toward global health issues as framed by the sustainable development goals, which were adopted for 2016–2030 by the United Nations.

Workshop: Engaging Students in Learning Mathematics Dana Center 12:30 PM 1:30 PM POB 2.402  

Presenters, Kathi Cook and Connie Richardson invite you to join them for an interactive session that illustrates the design elements of the Dana Center’s secondary and postsecondary mathematics materials (grades 6-13) that meet the mathematical demands in preparation for and of programs of study (e.g. the path to Calculus for STEM students, statistics for social sciences, social services, nursing, and other health professions, and quantitative reasoning for liberal arts, fine arts, and humanities). These materials are designed to engage students in authentic applications while developing conceptual understanding and procedural fluency.

BIO.325: Genetics Janice Fischer 12:30 PM 2:00 PM CLA 0.126 Terry O'Halleran

BIO325 is an introductory Genetics course that builds on what was learned about Genetics in Intro Bio. The curriculum document is here: https://cns.utexas.edu/images/CNS/BIO325.pdf In addition to enabling the students to acquire fluency in basic genetics, this course helps students learn to problem-solve and to think effectively. We will most likely be talking about: The Molecular Mechanism of Recombination.

BIO.315H: Advanced Introduction to Genetics: Honors Jen Moon 12:30 PM 2:00 PM BUR 112 Terry O'Halleran

Description of course: Biology 315H is the first course in a two-semester sequence (BIO 315H and BIO 325H) that integrates important concepts in general biology with a rigorous analysis of upper-division genetics. This course sequence is intended for students who entered UT with a score of 5 on the Advancement Placement Biology exam, but is also open to students of the College of Natural Sciences Dean’s Scholars, Health Science Scholars or Polymathic Scholars program who completed one year or more of biology in high school. The course is taught interactively, with in class activities, use of 'clicker questions' for feedback, and other tools to promote active engagement. At the moment, Sept 20 will cover protein structure and function.

M.375D: Discovery: Introduction to Advance Studies in Math Mark Daniels 12:30 PM 2:00 PM RLM 7.124 Natasha Pavlovic

This is a capstone mathematics course open to all in mathematics but primarily populated by UTeach mathematics majors.

M.362K: Probability I Mihai Sirbu 12:30 PM 2:00 PM RLM 5.104 Natasha Pavlovic

This is an introductory course in the mathematical theory of probability, thus it is fundamental to further work in probability and statistics, as well as many other fields in science, engineering, economics, etc. The topics covered will include basic notions of probability, conditional probability and independence, various discrete and continuous random variables, expectation and variance, joint probability distributions, the law of large numbers, and the central limit theorem.

CH.368: Physical Organic Chemistry Eric Anslyn 12:30 PM 2:00 PM PHR 2.114 Sean Roberts

A detailed understanding of bonding in organic chemicals, and their reaction mechanisms, and theory of organic chemistry reactivity.

Differential equations describe dynamical change -- from physical phenomena such as fluid flow and heat variation to the structural analysis of data and information. Linear algebra provides mathematical tools to enable understanding for multi-dimensional perspective. Isaac Newton said it best: ""the laws of nature are expressed by differential equations"". Our objective is to teach students to use mathematics to break problems apart in pieces and use analytical techniques to find innovative solutions. What is the goal of Science -- to ask questions that decipher the fundamental structure of matter. This is a complete course covering topics from first-order differential equations to the classical partial differential equations of physics. While there is natural emphasis on technique the main focus is on ideas and the development of quantitative skill that will be useful after leaving the University. While difficult to predict the exact pace of a class, it is likely that in the week of Sept 20 we will discuss linear systems of differential equations.

CH.301: Principles of Chemistry I Kate Biberdorf 12:30 PM 2:00 PM BUR 106 Laura Colgin

This course is the first semester of General Chemistry; it is comprised of approximately 400 students supported by 10-15 undergraduate learning assistants. The focus of the first semester is to provide students with the fundamental principles of chemistry while illustrating how to 'think like a chemist'. Active learning techniques are used to help the students master this difficult task. On this particular day, we will introduce the idea of quantized energy with the topic of electromagnetic radiation. The students will observe a few small FIREWORKS, and then derive an explanation that justifies the different colors produced by different elements.

BCH.364F: Astrobiology David Hoffman 12:30 PM 2:00 PM ECJ 1.314 Alison Norman

 

SDS.321: Introduction to Probability & Statistics Maggie Myers 12:30 PM 2:00 PM UTC 4.110 Kristin Patterson

This is an introduction to probability and statistics, with many practical applications, mostly designed for computer scientists but suitable for data scientists. The first section of the course examines fundamentals of probability, counting problems, discrete and continuous random variables, multiple random variables, and limit theorems. The later section introduces the fundamentals of statistics including Bayesian and classical inference. This lecture investigates independent events. Upon completion, students should be able to:

  • Compute probabilities if events are independent and determine if events are independent through probabilities.
  • Understand that conditioning, changing the “world” of interest, may change independence of events.
  • Apply fluently conditional probability formulas to determine if a collection of events is independent.
  • Recognize situations for which the assumption of independence is reasonable.
NEU.330: Neural Systems I George Pollak 12:30 PM 2:00 PM JGB 2.216 Anita Latham

The title of the lecture on Sept 20th is " The Molecular Biology of Ion Channels" The previous lectures described voltage gated ion channels, the molecules that create the electrical operation of the nervous system; how they work and how they generate action potentials, the universal language of the nervous system. In this lecture I show how investigators determined the molecular structure of two of the most important ion channels; voltage gated sodium and voltage gated potassium channels. I then discuss how the molecular structure of each type of ion channel, how they differ, and how they contributes to the particular operation of each channel in the brain.

BIO.330: Molecular Biology of Animal Viruses Christopher Sullivan 12:30 PM 2:00 PM BUR 220 Amanda Hager

 

BCH.369: Fundamentals of Biochemistry Gail Grabner 2:00 PM 3:30 PM UTC 4.102 Shagufta Shabbir

This course is required for all pre-health majors (pre-med, pre-dental, etc.) and is a one-semester course for non-majors. The goal is to teach the concepts of biochemistry with regard to both acquisition and application. The course is taught by the flipped model -- including a mixture of short mini-lectures in class, along with problem solving opportunities. The focus is on collaborative and active learning. We will be covering the basics of enzyme kinetics -- enzymes and how they work -- on September 20.

NTR.338W: Issues on Nutrition and Health Charlotte Herzele 2:00 PM 3:30 PM UTC 3.120 Michael Starbird

NTR 338W is scientific writing for nutrition majors. The students select a nutrition-related topic and write a review of the literature (3 papers) over the semester. They learn to write an abstract, introduction, description of the papers (subjects/protocol), and a discussion. They also learn to present papers using power point. On 9/20, their topics are due. We will discuss topics and how to approach writing about them, and we will be discussing the abstract, what it is, purpose, contents, etc.

BIO.315H: Advanced Introduction to Genetics: Honors Jen Moon 2:00 PM 3:30 PM PHR 2.116 Gwendolyn Stovall

Description of course: Biology 315H is the first course in a two-semester sequence (BIO 315H and BIO 325H) that integrates important concepts in general biology with a rigorous analysis of upper-division genetics. This course sequence is intended for students who entered UT with a score of 5 on the Advancement Placement Biology exam, but is also open to students of the College of Natural Sciences Dean’s Scholars, Health Science Scholars or Polymathic Scholars program who completed one year or more of biology in high school. The course is taught interactively, with in class activities, use of 'clicker questions' for feedback, and other tools to promote active engagement. At the moment, Sept 20 will cover protein structure and function.

SDS.321: Introduction to Probability & Statistics Maggie Myers 2:00 PM 3:30 PM UTC 3.124 Sonia Paban

This is an introduction to probability and statistics, with many practical applications, mostly designed for computer scientists but suitable for data scientists. The first section of the course examines fundamentals of probability, counting problems, discrete and continuous random variables, multiple random variables, and limit theorems. The later section introduces the fundamentals of statistics including Bayesian and classical inference. This lecturer investigates independent events. Upon completion, you should be able to;

  • Compute probabilities if events are independent and determine if events are independent through probabilities.
  • Understand that conditioning, changing the “world” of interest, may change independence of events.
  • Apply fluently conditional probability formulas to determine if a collection of events is independent.
  • Recognize situations for which the assumption of independence is reasonable.
NEU.337: Topics In Neuroscience: Plan II George Pollak 2:00 PM 3:30 PM PAI 4.42 Arturo De Lozanne

The topic of the lecture on September 20 will be on an Introduction to Neurotransmitters in the Brain. We now know that cells or neurons in the nervous system communicate with each other with special chemicals called neurotransmitter. The basic idea is that one neuron "speaks" or communicates with another by releasing a chemical in a specialized region called the synapse. The membrane of the other cell has specialized molecules called receptors that selectively bind the neurotransmitter released by the other cell. If the binding is on to a receptor that is part of an ion channel, the channel opens and allows sodium, potassium or calcium, ions to either enter of leave the cell, thereby changing the cell's electrical state. This is the most direct and important way by which one neutron influences another. Neurons might also have a different receptor in its membrane, a receptor that does not directly open or close an ion channel, but rather activates a cascade of events that can ultimately open or close ion channels, or even activate genes in the cell's nucleus. In this lecture we consider the discovery that showed that communication in the nervous system is indeed via chemicals, how those chemicals act on their targets, and how other chemicals can either mimic or block the effects of the normal neurotransmitter, and how those other chemicals are used both clinically and to investigate the operation of the brain.

CS.314: Data Structures Michael Scott 2:00 PM 3:30 PM GDC 2.216 Calvin Lin

Syllabus: previous semester, but applicable to the upcoming fall course.
http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~scottm/cs314/syllabus.htm
This is a second course in computer programming. The purpose of the course is to learn how to use and implement canonical data structures such as lists, iterators, stacks, queues, priority queues, trees, binary search trees, balanced binary search trees, sets, maps, hash tables, heaps, and graphs. The course also covers testing, reasoning about programs (pre/post conditions, assertions), debugging, abstraction of data, basic algorithm analysis, recursion, canonical sorting and searching algorithms, an introduction to the object oriented concepts of encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism, and dynamic programming. Students will be able to implement medium sized programs using the concepts listed. The course is taught using Java. The topic on September 20 is Java Generic (the language features available to create generic data structures) and interfaces (language feature to specify operations for a new data type, without implementation details, so that the data type can be implemented multiple ways.)

Workshop: Case Studies & Teaching Debates TIDES 3:30 PM 5:00 PM POB 2.402  

Five CNS faculty will demo innovative teaching strategies and share tips for replication.  Audience members will then be assigned pro/con positions on “hot” topics in teaching and participate in several mini debates, exploring modern teaching issues with colleagues.

BIO.359K: Principles of Animal Behavior Michael Ryan 3:30 PM 5:00 PM PHR 2.114 Michael Drew

The course addresses the general question: Why do animals behave the way they do? Answering this question involves a consideration of both the proximate and ultimate issues of animal behavior, how it is acquired and regulated, and how it evolved. The emphasis is on integration of proximate and ultimate analyses. Lecture Sept 20: Mechanisms of Behavior: Learning and Memory or Neural & Cognitive

 

 

 

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