Many faculty see introductory science courses as "gateway" classes to weed out students. Not Marco Molinaro. The assistant vice provost at the University of California, Davis, is leading the school's efforts to overhaul these classes and make them more accessible to students. "What can we do when we see 600 students at a time? How do we maximize their learning?" Molinaro asks.
UC Davis has been piloting adaptive-learning software from the Open Learning Initiative in its introductory biology classes to create more active-learning environments than a standard lecture hall. The university has improved its pass rates for introductory science courses with the help of these tools, but faculty aren't totally satisfied. For more on how the course redesign worked, and where it's headed, listen to a recording of Molinaro's full talk from a recent EdSurge event.