© 2020

Active Learning in College Science

The Case for Evidence-Based Practice

  • Joel J. Mintzes
  • Emily M. Walter

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxx
  2. Part I

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-2
    2. Linda C. Hodges
      Pages 27-41
    3. Jeffrey T. Olimpo, David Esparza
      Pages 43-57
    4. Emily M. Walter, Lillian Senn, Evelin E. Munoz
      Pages 59-70
  3. Part II

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 71-71
    2. Eileen Kogl Camfield, Laura Beaster-Jones, Alex D. Miller, Kirkwood M. Land
      Pages 89-105
  4. Part III

  5. Part IV

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 189-190
    2. Debra Linton
      Pages 191-203
    3. Pratibha Varma-Nelson, Mark S. Cracolice
      Pages 205-218

About this book


This book explores evidence-based practice in college science teaching and investigates claims about the efficacy of alternative strategies in such teaching. It showcases outstanding cases of exemplary practice supported by solid evidence, and gives voice to practitioners who offer models of teaching and learning that meet the high standards of the scientific disciplines. The book’s primary focus is to uncover classroom practices that encourage and support meaningful learning and conceptual understanding in the natural sciences. To this end, it presents a review of published work in the field that suggests a useful way of classifying these classroom practices. Following an introduction based on constructivist learning theory, the book explores the practices of eliciting ideas and encouraging reflection. It examines the use of clickers to engage students and the support of peer interaction with small group activities. It discusses such topics as restructuring curriculum and instruction, rethinking the physical environment, enhancing understanding with technology, and assessing understanding.  The final section of the book is devoted to professional issues facing college and university faculty who choose to adopt active learning in their courses.


STEM education Active Learning Techniques active learning approaches college science teaching Instructional Response Systems Conceptually-Oriented Inscriptions Small Groups Interactions Whole-Class Engagement Active Learning in College Science Augmented and Virtual Learning Evidence Based Practice in Teaching Collaborative Learning in College Science Engagement in College Science Flipped Instruction in College Science Peer-Led Team Learning Problem Based Learning Project Based Learning Social Media in College Education Team Based Learning in College Carl E. Wieman

Editors and affiliations

  • Joel J. Mintzes
    • 1
  • Emily M. Walter
    • 2
  1. 1.Departments of Biological Sciences and Science Education, California State University, Chico, CA, USAScience Learning AssociatesWrightsville BeachUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological Sciences and Center for STEM EducationCalifornia State UniversityFresnoUSA

About the editors

Joel J. Mintzes (B.S., M.S. Illinois, Ph.D. Northwestern) is a veteran of 40 years in the college biology classroom, having served on faculties in Canada, North Carolina, and California.  His widely published research focuses on conceptual development and cognitive processes in biology, and environmental education. He has served on numerous editorial boards, as co-editor of three previous volumes, and worked as Director of Research of The Private Universe Project, and Senior Researcher of the MOSART and FICSS projects at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Lead Fellow at the National Institute for Science Education (University of Wisconsin), Fulbright-Technion Fellow at the Israel Institute of Technology, Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Homi Bhaba Centre for Science Education in India, and Visiting Scholar at Providence University in Taiwan, and Beijing Normal University in the Peoples Republic of China. He was co-recipient of the Award of Merit given by the editorial board of the journal, Science Education, for his work on alternative conceptions in science.


Emily M. Walter (B.S. Iowa State, M.S. Western Illinois, Ph.D. Missouri, Post Doc, Western Michigan) is Assistant Professor of Biology and Director of the STEM Education Center at California State University, Fresno.  Her extensive research, publications and presentations focus on teaching practices and pedagogical content knowledge of college science faculty, and evolution education.  Her work has resulted in the development and validation of instruments that examine students’ understanding of evolution and climate change, and on the influence of the academic workplace on faculty instructional practices.  Currently she is engaged in a collaborative, on-going effort to improve college science teaching in the Arab Republic of Egypt.

Bibliographic information