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Course Transformation Projects (orig)

Course Transformation Projects

The MSLC partners with faculty and staff members of various departments to create comprehensive course transformation projects and to write grant proposals in support of such projects.  Our role in this process is to provide expertise in research-based instructional practices and to enhance proposals by including supplemental and in-class methods of instructional support.  Summaries of some of our transformation projects are listed below.

Collaborative Project: Developing Proportional Reasoning in a Physics Context with Invention Tasks

NSF Directorate for Undergraduate Education (DUE) Transforming Undergraduate Educaiton in STEM (TUES) #1045250, 2011-2014, $65,216



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Workers in science and technology-related fields use proportional reasoning extensively when making sense of quantitative data. Mathematics instruction in middle school and high school often places a corresponding emphasis on ratios and proportions, however many students still have difficulty reasoning about product and ratio quantities in introductory physics classes. This project is developing curricular materials to strengthen the ability of students to reason in the context of the topics regularly covered in introductory physics. These materials employ "invention instruction," an approach shown to be effective in facilitating mathematical reasoning. In an invention task, students are given a "job" that they complete by inventing a quantity to characterize a set of physical situations and make meaningful comparisons. The tasks are sequenced so students can start by reasoning about ratios and proportions in a familiar, everyday context, and they progress toward more abstract physical quantities for which physicists commonly use the same type of reasoning. These invention sequences are designed to highlight the similarity of the reasoning required. The project workers are developing invention sequences for use in both high school and introductory college classes and are measuring their effectiveness in developing students' content knowledge and reasoning ability with more abstract quantities. In parallel, they are also conducting basic research into how students are actually using proportions in various settings. This work is contributing to our understanding of how and why students struggle with reasoning about abstract quantities in introductory physics and provides instructional approaches that more efficiently develop reasoning skills for maturing students of science.



Transforming the General Biology Laboratory for Undergraduate Students

NSF Directorate for Undergraduate Education (DUE) Transforming Undergraduate Educaiton in STEM (TUES), #1044699, 2011 - 2013, $170,930.00




PUM (Physics and Mathematics) Exploration

NSF Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL) #0733140, 2008-2010; $290,874





Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE): Science and Cognition Combined

NSF Division of Undergraduate Educaiton (DUE) #0088906, 2001-2003, $495,304






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Why partner with us?

“It was a genuine treat to work with you, and we appreciate how quickly and how intelligently you tailored your services to the unique challenges of our Turf students. You made them – and us – feel valued, appreciated and understood by the university, and our program is stronger because of your good work”

Jim Morris
Associate Director
New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station


student writing on chalkboard

Why visit the MSLC?

"The MSLC was extremely beneficial at Rutgers since it allowed me to study and get help in the biology course. The biology room helped students review slides that were important to know in order to prepare for the BIO practical. The opportunity to have extra time to study on my own and ask the Teachers Assistant questions was extremely helpful. I was able to connect with people taking similar classes which allowed me to form study groups".

A student majoring in Exercise Science.
Graduation Year 2015

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