May 2011
CWSEI study published in the Journal Science - double the learning in a large undergraduate physics class
Link to UBC media release
Link to paper

September 2010
Carl Wieman to take up White House Post
The United States Senate has confirmed University of British Columbia professor and Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman for the position of Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

January 2010
Google founding investor gives $2M to the CWSEI
UBC announced a $2M gift from Google founding investor David Cheriton to the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative.

July 2009
SEI Video page
New webpage with the videos produced by the CU-SEI and CWSEI. Currently has videos on why to use clickers and using clickers in upper division classes. More videos on various topics are in production.

June 2009
Update of Departmental Activities
The web pages for the department CWSEI programs have been updated to show the current activities and progress.

May 2009
CWSEI End-of-Year Event
The CWSEI End-of-Year event on April 29, 2009 featured 3 talks, about 40 posters, and 3 workshops. Most of the materials from this event are available online, and include details on what what’s happening in the Earth & Ocean Sciences, Physics & Astronomy, Computer Science, Life Sciences, Chemistry, Statistics, and Mathematics CWSEI programs.

March 2009
New addition to CWSEI Instructor Guidance

Recently added to the CWSEI Instructor Guidance page:

  • Assessments That Support Student Learning — 2 pager
March 2009
UBC Reports Article on the EOS-SEI Program
The Joy of Teaching: EOS Profs Find New Ways to Enrich the Classroom Experience — a story on the Earth & Ocean Sciences Dept. CWSEI program, where about 70% of tenure track faculty members are currently engaged in some form of pedagogical reform.

Feb 2009
Clicker Resources Page added
New Clicker Resources page includes video, SEI clicker guide, links to collections of clicker questions, and other useful links and articles. Clickers are wireless personal response systems that can be used in a classroom to anonymously and rapidly collect an answer to a question from every student. Clickers are useful when the questions are designed to increase student engagement with the material. This web page contains resources to help instructors use clickers effectively in a classroom.

Jan 2009
New additions to CWSEI Instructor Guidance

Recently added to the CWSEI Instructor Guidance page:

  • Link to handbook: How to Prepare Better Multiple-Choice Test Items: Guidelines for University Faculty
  • First Day of Class – Recommendations for Instructors
Jan 2009
CU-SEI paper published in Science: Why Peer Discussion Improves Student Performance on In-Class Concept Questions
When students answer an in-class conceptual question individually using clickers, discuss it with their neighbors, and then revote on the same question, the percentage of correct answers typically increases. This outcome could result from gains in understanding during discussion, or simply from peer influence of knowledgeable students on their neighbors. To distinguish between these alternatives in an undergraduate genetics course, we followed the above exercise with a second, similar (isomorphic) question on the same concept that students answered individually. Our results indicate that peer discussion enhances understanding, even when none of the students in a discussion group originally knows the correct answer.

Jan 2009
Earth & Ocean Sciences EOS-SEI Newsletters
The monthly newsletter aims to keep all faculty, staff and students up to date with our work. Topics relating to results of research into learning in our courses, pointers for "best practices", observations about curriculum or pedagogy will be covered.

Jan 2009
Life Sciences LS-CWSEI Newsletters
We have started a monthly newsletter for faculty and staff in the Life Sciences Departments to give updates on LS-CWSEI's progress, upcoming events, and various tips for teaching

Dec 2008
CWSEI research paper: What is the Value of Course-Specific Learning Goals?
Beth Simon, UBC CWSEI STLF in Computer Science, and Jared Taylor, STLF in Life Sciences, conducted a study of student and faculty perceptions of the usefulness of learning goals. This paper is accepted for publication in the Journal of College Science Teaching.

Dec 2008
Dec. 2008 poster presentation: Engaging non-science students in large classes
Poster on changes in EOSC 310 - The Earth and the Solar System - presented at the Dec. 2008 American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco by Sara Harris, EOS-SEI @UBC

Nov 2008
Nov. 2008 poster presentation: Improving Metacognitive Skills of 2nd year Environmental Science Students: What to Measure?
Francis Jones' poster presentation at the Nov. 2008 workshop on the Role of Metacognition in Teaching Geoscience at Carleton College: Improving Metacognitive Skills of 2nd year Environmental Science Students: What to Measure?

Oct 2008
Poster presentations at the ISSOTL 2008 Conference on learning and attitude studies conducted in UBC biology courses
3 posters were presented at the October 2008 International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference (ISSOTL 2008) in Edmonton, Alberta:
  • Findings of the Impact of a Non-majors First Year Biology Course on Students’ Attitudes Towards Biological Sciences by Gülnur Birol, Kathy Nomme, Sandra Keerthisinghe, and Jennifer Klenz
  • Implementation of a First Year Biology Learning Group Pilot Study by Karen M. Smith, Tamara L.J. Kelly, Gülnur Birol, and George B. Spiegelman
  • How Do Cell Biology Students Learn Effectively? by Gülnur Birol, Ellen Rosenberg, Joanne Nakonechny, and Lacey Samuels
Oct 2008
Oct. 2008 poster presentation: Measuring student gains in an Introductory Geoscience Lab
Brett Gilley & Sara Harris's poster presentation on introductory Geoscience lab changes at the October 2008 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Houston.

MacLean's Article: Out with the lecture!

Article on Wieman lecture about discipline-based science education research.  Read the article...

Carl Wieman elected to US National Academy of Education

UBC Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman has been elected to the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Education (NAEd). Wieman joins an elite cohort of 169 members and 17 foreign associates. He is the only physicist among current members of the Washington D.C.-based organization, which include former Harvard University President Derek Bok and former University of Chicago President Hanna Gray. Wieman is director of the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI) at UBC and director of the Science Education Initiative at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Both initiatives work with departments to improve science education by incorporating the latest research on teaching and learning.

Sara Harris receives the 2007/2008 Faculty of Science Achievement Award

Congratulations to Sara Harris in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences who received the 2007/2008 Faculty of Science Achievement Award for her exceptional contribution to the Faculty of Science.   

Sandy Martinuk and Mya Warren receive the 2007/2008 Graduate TA Teaching Awards

Congratulations to Sandy Martinuk and Mya Warren in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, who have been working on CWSEI supported projects and recently received the 2007/2008 Graduate Teaching Assistant Teaching Awards. These teaching prizes are awarded annually to UBC Teaching Assistants who have demonstrated exceptional skills and contributions to undergraduate education.

Departmental updates & UBC Reports articles

April 2008

Read about updates of departments' CWSEI efforts.

UBC Reports articles featuring CWSEI efforts: Nothing Too Theoretical About this Physics Class highlights work on an introductory physics class, and Winds of Classroom Change, highlights some of Earth & Ocean Sciences' CWSEI efforts.


The Physics Education Technology (PhET) website has received first place in the 2007 International Science and Technology Visualization Challenge in the category of interactive media, beating out more than 200 entries from 23 countries on six continents. The contest winners also appeared in the Sept. 28 issue of Science. The PhET website was launched by Carl Wieman in 2002.

2007: Departments begin CWSEI work

5 programs have been funded as part of the initial CWSEI call for proposals. learn more…