From Questions to Concepts: Interactive Teaching in Physics

How can you engage your students and be sure they are learning the conceptual foundations of a lecture course? In “From Questions to Concepts,” Harvard University Professor Eric Mazur introduces Peer Instruction and Just-in-Time teaching — two innovative techniques for lectures that use in-class discussion and immediate feedback to improve student learning.

Using these techniques in his innovative undergraduate physics course, Mazur demonstrates how lectures and active learning can be successfully combined. This video is also available as part of another DVD, Interactive Teaching, which contains advice on using peer instruction and just-in-time teaching to promote better learning. For more videos on teaching, visit

Watch the video:…Read More

Flipped learning: Professor tested, student approved

Seven in 10 students say they watch online lectures more than once.

Marcio Oliveira could see the benefits of his kinesiology course’s flipped learning approach with every new hand that popped up in the first minute of every class, as students peppered him with questions. But he needed more than anecdotal evidence, so he conducted a survey, and the results proved that the hands didn’t lie.

Oliveira, a professor and assistant chair in the University of Maryland’s Department of Kinesiology, began his flipped learning experimentation during the spring 2009 semester in his 200-student class, turning the traditional learning model on its head: students learn content outside of class—through podcasts and recorded lectures, mostly—and do what was once known as homework during class, with the help of professors.

Students seemed to appreciate the flexibility of watching lectures online, outside of class, and having Oliveira and his teaching assistants (TAs) answer questions during class and in smaller sections headed by the TAs. It wasn’t until Oliveira asked students about the flipped model that he knew how popular the approach had become.…Read More

Ending the ‘tyranny of the lecture’

Students need to assimilate information before they can apply it to a different context, Mazur said.

At an educational technology conference in Boston July 27, Harvard University physics professor Eric Mazur explained how he uses “peer instruction” to help his students engage in deeper learning than traditional lectures can provide—and he unveiled a brand-new ed-tech service that can help educators take this concept to a whole new level.

Mazur used a simple experiment to drive home his point that lecturing is an outdated—and largely ineffective—strategy for imparting knowledge.

Speaking at the 2011 Building Learning Communities (BLC) conference, organized by educational technology thought leader Alan November and his ed-tech consulting firm November Learning, Mazur asked participants to think of a skill they were good at, then explain how they mastered this skill.…Read More