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Peer-Led Team Learning: Small Groups, Significant Impact

Peer-Led Team Learning: Small Groups, Significant Impact

Pratibha Varma-Nelson

Date: February 12, 2016

Location: Chemistry


Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) is a pedagogy that encourages students taking introductory STEM classes to be more active in their own learning, thus improving their problem solving skills, ability to work in teams, and success in introductory science courses. This National Speaker Series talk will review the PLTL research and provide recommendations for best practices to educators who wish to integrate PLTL in their courses. Training students to learn effectively in this environment will be discussed in addition to the training of peer leaders. More information about PLTL and cPLTL can be found at:  http://cpltl.iupui.edu/

About the Speaker

Pratibha Varma-Nelson is a Professor of Chemistry and the Executive Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.  She received her B.Sc. in Chemistry with first class from the University of Pune, India and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in Chicago in Organic Chemistry. She served as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University.

Varma-Nelson joined the faculty of Saint Xavier University, Chicago in 1979 where she received tenure, was promoted to Professor, and served as department co-chair. In 2002, she moved to Northeastern Illinois University as Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Department of Chemistry, Earth Science and Physics. From 2006-2008, she was a Program Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Division of Undergraduate Education.

Since 1995, Dr. Varma-Nelson’s scholarly contributions have been in chemical education. She is well known in the chemistry education community for her pioneering work in the development, implementation, and dissemination of the PLTL model of teaching. She has been a Co-PI of two NSF-funded National Dissemination Grants awarded to the PLTL project and was senior partner of the Multi Initiative National Dissemination Project. In addition, she was a founding Co-PI of the first NSF-funded undergraduate research center called the Center for Authentic Science Practice in Education (CASPiE).

Dr. Varma-Nelson is co-author of several publications about PLTL and CASPiE and has made numerous presentations in local, national, and international venues. She co-authored the 2011 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) report, “Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action,” as well as several other national reports.