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Graduate students interested in academic careers welcome opportunities to discuss issues related to teaching and learning. Experience shows that these students are curious not only about balancing research and teaching, understanding the application and interview processes, and maneuvering through the tenure process, but also about designing curriculum and assessing student learning. To guide students as they learn how to design a lesson, course, and entire curriculum and the corresponding assessment tools, a knowledge of educational theories is helpful. But how helpful? How best to share educational theories so that students understand them and can apply them appropriately? Does knowledge of educational theories lead to more confidence as a "curriculum leader?" How does this quality affect the academic career process? How does this knowledge help develop skills in curriculum leadership? The authors of this paper focused on these questions in a graduate seminar titled, "Teaching Science and Engineering" during spring, 2002 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Courter and colleagues developed this course three years ago. This spring she added Heywood's text, "Curriculum, Instruction and Leadership in Engineering Education" and assessed students' reactions to the depth of the text and especially of the educational theories presented. This text takes them beyond simple packaged data as might be presented in a short workshop to a more in-depth understanding of educational theory. Heywood from Dublin, Ireland, joined Courter and students for one class and continued corresponding with students after his visit. Discussion within the Education, Research and Methods Division (ERM) of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) suggests that curriculum leadership will only become possible when science and engineering educators have a thorough grounding in curriculum theory and practice. The purpose of this paper is to describe the classroom research related to this view among graduate students enrolled in the spring, 2002 seminar. Methodology included students writing several reflective papers and designing and reviewing lesson plans in a supportive environment. Results will have implications for the education and training of graduate students who are teaching assistants or who pursue academic careers; the implications may extend beyond workshops and short courses to certificates, minors, masters and even doctoral levels.
Frontiers in Education, 2002. FIE 2002. 32nd Annual (Volume:2 )
Date of Conference: 2002