What we are all about
Welcome to the Mischler lab! We are open and curious and ready to explore the world. Please take a look around and don't hesitate to email me with any questions. If you are a student taking one of my courses for the first time, some of the information below about my teaching style may be useful for you:
Throughout my teaching I have used a variety of strategies as dictated by the subject matter and the student population I am serving. However, as with any professor, I have strategies that I prefer to use and I find most effective to enhance student learning:
- Authentic Research Experiences - guided inquiry, analysis of existing data sets/imagery, student-generated projects. I incorporate research in all of my courses.
- Service Learning - Service learning helps the student both develop a working knowledge of a topic through repeated practice as well as gain valuable first-hand experience in how their expertise can be a force for change and good in the world.
- Swift, Frequent, and Effective Feedback - I use frequent low-stakes formative assessments before the administration of high-stakes summative assessments. I often utilize timed online quizzes to avoid using too much class time and allowing students to reflect on what they might not understand before coming to class.
- Field-Based Learning - There is absolutely no substitute for real-world interaction. I try to get students out and observing natural systems as much as possible. Field studies allow students to take in a subject that is larger than themselves (a rock outcrop, a river, an entire valley) and integrate fragmentary information of different types from different localities and reason spatially to make sense of the landscape.
- International Experiences - I am convinced that taking students to another culture/region of the world is invaluable to the their personal formation. Students are exposed to issues they have only previously been able to read about (lion conservation, subsistence agriculture in developing countries) and are invited to stretch their perceptions of how the world operates.
- Evidence-Based Teaching/Teaching as Research - I like to try to avoid ``reinventing the wheel''. I stay current in the literature and collect my own data (concept inventories, entrance/exit interviews, pre/post tests, etc.) when practical to determine if changes I implement do in fact enhance student learning.
- Soliciting and Acting on Student Feedback - After every exam I ask for student feedback, display this feedback to the class, and act on the suggestions that have the most support and fit within my larger teaching philosophy.
- Effective use of Discussion - I often use controversial topics to spur students on to debate at the edge of knowledge, especially when there is no clear ``right'' answer
- Clear and Explicit Learning Objectives and Assessments - I use explicit rubrics wherever I can when clear correct/incorrect answers are not applicable. Grading must be fair and as objective as humanly possible.
- Explicit Focus on Transferable Skills - In addition to the content knowledge students develop in my courses, I also emphasize transferable skills that they can list on resumes and are seen as generally desirable by employers (teamwork, communication, problem solving, computer coding, etc.).
- Trust - In my view students must take responsibility for their own learning.
How People Learn,