Eric Mazur to visit Waterloo campus – Trevor Holmes

Renowned physics education pioneer Eric Mazur will be at Waterloo Dec 1 2010. Before there were clickers, before there was a “Force Concept Inventory,” Mazur was developing “interactive engagement” or peer instruction (see a two-minute video here).

The talk is co-sponsored by Physics and Astronomy and the Centre for Teaching Excellence. Here’s the ad:

Please join us for a special guest lecture!

Dean Eric Mazur, Harvard
Eric Mazur, Physics

Professor Eric Mazur
Dean of Applied Physics
Harvard University

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon
Arts Lecture Hall (AL) Room 105

Memorization or understanding: are we teaching the right thing?

Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is what is mostly done in large introductory courses — instructors present material (even though this material might be readily available in printed form) and for students the main purpose of lectures is to take down as many notes as they can. Few students have the ability, motivation, and discipline to synthesize all the information delivered to them. Yet synthesis is perhaps the most important — and most elusive — aspect of education. I will show how shifting the focus in lectures from delivering information to synthesizing information greatly improves the learning that takes place in the classroom.


R.S.V.P. Appreciated:     Bonnie Findlay,, Ext. 36831


The Centre for Teaching Excellence welcomes contributions to its blog. If you are a faculty member, staff member, or student at the University of Waterloo (or beyond!) and would like contribute a posting about some aspect of teaching or learning, please contact Mark Morton or Trevor Holmes.

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As Senior Instructional Developer, Curriculum and Programming, Trevor Holmes plans and delivers workshops and events in support of faculty across the career span. Prior to joining the Centre for Teaching Excellence, Trevor worked at a variety of universities teaching courses, supporting faculty and teaching assistants through educational development offices, and advising undergraduates. Trevor’s PhD is from York University in English Literature, with a focus on gothic literature, queer theory, and goth identities. A popular workshop facilitator at the national and international levels, Trevor is also interested in questions of identity in teaching and teaching development.

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