Ask Dr. Wieman

Posted by: | April 11, 2007 | 5 Comments

Later this week, our own Maayan Kreitzman will have a sit-down interview with Dr. Carl Wieman of his eponymous Science Education Initiative. (See below.) We’ve got some questions, but we thought we’d put it to our readers – what questions would you like to ask Dr. Wieman?

What about his initiative, science education, philosophy, or the man himself would you be interested to know?


5 Comments so far

  1. Tim Louman-Gardiner on April 11, 2007 3:21 am

    Something that popped into mind: what are the hopeful measurable outcomes? Put another way, what has to happen for him to consider it to be a success?

  2. Maayan Kreitzman on April 11, 2007 3:34 am

    Good question, particularly considering the impracticality of giving anyone higher marks, even if they are objectively learning better.
    Learning is supposedly measured by marks (in a relational, not absolute way, admittedly). If people are only understanding 30% of big concepts from traditional lecture courses, as Dr. Wieman claims, and are passing with 60s-80s, will marks reflect an improvement in learning at all?
    Or will the improvement be felt when only when we solve all the world’s problems?

  3. Anonymous on April 11, 2007 7:02 am

    I am wondering how the professors can stimulate the interests of students. For sure, they cannot lecture the students on how science is supposed to be interesting. But students aren’t motivated to participate unless they are absolutely forced to. That’s why the PRS come into place in most first year courses. But is there anything beyond the PRS?

    First year labs are huge in size in almost any science classes, but they are also the same places where science comes into practice and gets interesting. Currently, the rigid curriculum can only give the students an impression of grunt work and nothing but hurdles to jump past. In fact, the computer programs ,that are supposed to help students, can often cause much frustration. With the upcoming cutback on expenses for lab facilities, how is that situation going to be improved?

  4. Anonymous on April 11, 2007 2:54 pm

    “Who is your daddy and what does he do” (in a faux Austrian accent).

  5. Anonymous on April 12, 2007 1:40 am

    Why only 5 departments of 7(?) in Science, and why only Science?

    How is it funded?

    What ought students learn in/from an undergrad lab? (What purpose does he see for it?)

    How and to what extent would he involve students in UBC’s research enterprise?

    How does/could his program apply to the teaching of upper-year or graduate courses?

    Roughly 50-60% of incoming first years intend to be doctors. 50-60 of them will get into med school here. How do you deal with this problem, and/or ensure those who don’t make it into med school have a useful degree and options?

    How did he find out he’d won the Nobel prize? (it’s a bit amusing)

    As you can imagine, he’s been asked almost every imaginable question several times. Try to come up with something thoroughly different (If you were a tree,…).

    For a good rant, ask whether UBC should join the NCAA.

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