Grad student David Blasing receives Class of 1922 Outstanding Innovation in Helping Students Learn Award
Writer(s): William Fornes
David Blasing created and implemented an innovative teaching strategy in PHYS 27200 – Electric and Magnetic Interactions that has earned him the 2017 Class of 1922 Outstanding Innovation in Helping Students Learn Award. In the 45-year history of the award, Blasing is the third graduate student and the first member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy to receive it.
The innovation that led to this recognition applies the principles of cognitive apprenticeship to recitation sections. Cognitive apprenticeship is a style of instruction in which a “master” models a skill, then an “apprentice” practices the skill with feedback. This continues with feedback from the master gradually fading away as the apprentice acquires the skill. This is an exceedingly difficult thing to accomplish in a course like PHYS 27200 because of the high student to teacher ratios. The low individual contact time per student creates difficulty for offering specific real-time feedback to students as they learn. Blasing solved this problem by creating carefully designed and rigorously vetted series of iClicker questions that allow teaching assistants to progress through the stages of cognitive apprenticeship with an entire classroom.
David is a previous recipient of the 2013 Gabriele F. Giuliani Outstanding First or Second Year Teaching Assistant Award, the 2014 Teaching Academy Graduate Teaching Award, the 2015 Akeley-Mandler Award for Teaching Excellence, and an Advanced Graduate Teaching Certificate from the Center of Instructional Excellence.