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Experiments in Learning Series

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Interested in learning about what your colleagues are doing in the classroom to promote student inclusion, learning, and engagement? Join us for a monthly series to hear about innovative approaches used by Stanford instructors, and discuss how you might apply them in your own courses.

Go to the current schedule

experiments in learning lunch series

Winter 2023

"Communicating to Learn: Teaching Students to Think, Write, and Speak like Experts"
Wednesday, January 25, 12 noon – 1 p.m. ​​
Rajan Kumar (Lecturer | Director of Undergraduate Studies, Materials Science and Engineering)
408 Panama Mall, Room 116

Many instructors are eager to help students develop critical skills that extend beyond the classroom or the major. This is sometimes explained as teaching students to “think like an expert”, but how do we actually accomplish this goal? In this session, we will explore the benefits of “communicating to learn” and show how communication-based assessments and activities can promote critical thinking and foster deeper learning of technical content. Dr Kumar will present an example from his course, MatSci 160, in which students attend weekly discussion sections aimed at teaching them to think, write, and speak like materials engineers. We will also discuss how to incorporate communication-based assessments and activities in your own course and how to connect these components to your course learning goals.

Register here for this exciting event!

Further sessions for 2023 are currently being developed.

Interested in facilitating a session?

If you are interested in attending these events, have a teaching approach you would like to share, or would simply like to join our mailing list, please email Kenny Ligda, Associate Director of Faculty and Lecturer Programs, at

Previous quarters

Autumn 2022

  • "What Does 'Research-Led' Teaching Mean in Practice?"
    December 6, 12 noon – 1 p.m.
    Elaine Treharne (Professor of English and, by courtesy, of German Studies and Comparative Literature)
    In this session, we focus on teaching new approaches to cultural heritage object-based studies, in which students learn how to develop research questions emerging from completely unfamiliar textual artifacts to examine issue of power structures, representation, and the fashioning of collective memory.
  • “I Never Knew I Could Study That”: Archival Research as the Key to Inclusion, Engagement and Belonging in the Classroom
    October 20, 12 noon – 1 p.m.
    Thomas Mullaney (Professor of History) 
    Discussing "Massively Multiplayer Humanities," a program now in its 7th year, designed to upstream, scale-up, and diversify the hands-on research experience within the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Spring 2022

Winter 2022

Spring 2021

Winter 2021

Autumn 2020

  • Hands-On from Home: Tips for Running Virtual Labs and Other Activities in the Remote Environment
    Facilitator: Jennifer Schwartz Poehlman, Chemistry
    Watch the recording
    See the presentation slides (PDF)
  • Humans and Viruses: An Ongoing Platform for Experimentation
    Facilitator: Bob Siegel, Human Biology

Spring 2020

Winter 2020

  • Doing Before Knowing: How Students Learn to Direct by Directing 
    Facilitator: Michael Rau, Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS)
  • Team-Based Pedagogy 
    Facilitator: Marcelo Clerici-Arias, Economics
  • Expert-Level Decision-Making in the Classroom: How to help students move from thinking like novices to thinking like experts
    Facilitator: Lisa Hwang, Chemical Engineering

Fall 2019

  • The Case for Applied Ethics: How Experiential Learning Can Help Students Develop Meaningful Principles
    Facilitator: Tom Byers and Jack Fuchs, Management Science and Engineering
  • Active Learning is Not a Fad: Empowering Students to Learn
    Facilitator: Pat Burchat, Physics
  • Situating the Student Scientist by Teaching environmental Justice and Equity Framing
    Facilitators: Sibyl Diver (Earth Systems) and Emily Polk (Program in Writing and Rhetoric)

Spring 2019

  • Drawing Students into Arguments: How Mapping Argument Structure Improves Engagement and Analysis
    Facilitator: Emilee Chapman, Political Science
  • The Power of Vulnerability in Fostering Student Learning and Belonging
    Facilitators: Steven Roberts, Psychology, with his students, Valerie Wu, Jackson Richter, and Isaac Arocha
  • The Pi-Shaped Student: Learning Ethical Design in an Age of Technology
    Facilitator: Ge Wang, CCRMA

Winter 2019

  • Engaging Students in Large Lecture Courses: Lessons from Psychology One
    Facilitator: James Gross, Psychology
  • Students Mixing Silos: Using the Arts to Express and Explore Science
    Facilitator: Sue McConnell, Biology
  • Seeing, Hearing, Tasting: How Students Benefit from Experiential Learning
    Facilitators: Marisa Galvez (French and Italian) and Jesse Rodin (Music)

Fall 2018

  • Teaching with No Learning Outcomes: Against the Instrumentalization of the Classroom
    Facilitator: Alex Nemerov, Art and Art History
  • Practicing Safe CS: How Interdisciplinary Learning Benefits Students (and Stimulates New Research)
    Facilitator: Rob Reich, Political Science
  • The One-Unit Class: Creating Gateways to Humanities
    Facilitator: Allyson Hobbs, History

Co-sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Dean’s Office of the School of Humanities and Sciences.


Please contact Kenneth Ligda for questions.

Kenny Ligda

Kenneth Ligda
Associate Director, Faculty and Lecturer Programs