The Active Learning Workshop Series will be teaching College of Engineering faculty members skills to improve their teaching effectiveness and how to increase student engagement in the classroom.

Shan Jiang

Shan Jiang, assistant professor of materials science and engineering.

The workshop will be a chance for faculty members to get together and discuss high impact teaching practices. Faculty members in the College of Engineering who are termed, tenured or tenure-eligible with at least one semester of teaching experience are eligible for the workshop series.

The faculty members interested in this opportunity registered for two sessions of this workshop, which be on Friday and Oct. 4. The faculty members who participate will receive a certificate upon completion of the workshop series.

Assistant Professor of materials science and engineering Shan Jiang is one of the organizers of the workshop. Jiang has been at Iowa State since 2016 and was inspired by his experience in teaching to develop a workshop series that can spread ideas amongst faculty members.

Jiang mentioned how he enjoys teaching and wants to share his experience in research to show the new generation of students what is so important and interesting about science and technology.

“The real way to get knowledge is to see the problem, where the problem is and see the history and how you approach a problem, even though you may not get the right answer — but if you try, that's an active way of learning,” Jaing said.

Jiang said he started to completely reverse the traditional way of teaching as a way to increase his students' engagement. One of the ways Jiang subverts common teaching styles is to not give the equation, but to derive the equation and guide the students to the answer. This allows the students to have a more comprehensive understanding of how to work through problems.

“We want to share with our fellow faculty professors what I did in the classroom,” Jiang said. “Let's give [faculty members] the framework or the concept of active learning and encourage them to redo it in the classroom.”

The Active Learning Workshop Series will give faculty members an opportunity to incorporate Jiang’s framework into their courses.

According to the College of Engineering’s website, this new workshop series was funded by the Dean’s Excellence in Learning and Teaching Grant program. The series will take place 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and again on Oct. 4 in 3155 Marston Hall.

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