Brian W. O'Shea - Teaching

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I believe that my role as a teacher is to assist my students in discovering new concepts and to guide them in making coherent connections between new information and prior knowledge. This belief is driven by research on how learning occurs in the human brain, and helps to guide how I structure my courses. As a faculty member in Lyman Briggs College, I was encouraged to be an innovative teacher and to embrace the scholarship of teaching and learning. As a result of this background, my classes do not often resemble traditional (and ineffective) lectures - rather, I embrace the principles of active learning, and the significant learning gains that can be achieved using these techniques. Please see my teaching philosphy for a high-level description of this, and my papers on (1) improvements to an intro physics course sequence targeted at life science majors and (2) the development of a course on computational modeling and data analysis.

In recent years, my focus has been on building and refining the courses taught in the new Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering. A key example of this is CMSE 201, "Computational Modeling and Data Analysis I". Along with Devin Silvia and Brian Danielak, we have designed this course from the ground up to be based on best practices from education research - the class uses a "flipped" model and is heavily problem- and activity-based in class. A paper describing the course and its design process is available in the peer-reviewed conference proceedings for the International Conference on Computational Science 2019 (direct link to paper). Further work in this area is largely being led by the Computational Education Research Laboratory, of which I am a member.

Present and upcoming courses:

None currently - administrative teaching release due to ICER Directorship.

Previous courses:

Spring 2023: PHY 905, "Computational Astrophysics and Astrostatistics"
Spring 2022: CMSE 402, "Principles of Data Visualization"
Spring 2020: PHY 905, "Computational Astrophysics and Astrostatistics"
Fall 2018: PHY 905, "Computational Astrophysics and Astrostatistics" and CMSE 890, "Algorithms for Next-Generation Architectures"
(the latter co-taught with Andrew Christlieb and Dirk Colbry)
Spring 2018: CMSE 402, "Principles of Scientific Visualization"
Spring 2017: PHY 905-003, "Computational Astrophysics and Astrostatistics"
Fall 2016 and Spring 2017: CMSE 201, "Introduction to Computational Modeling"
Spring 2016: NSC 204, "Introduction to Computational Modeling"
Spring 2014: LB 490A, Methods of Computational Science: Solving Problems With Computers
Fall 2013: LB 273 (Lyman Briggs Physics I - Mechanics)
Fall 2013: LB 290A, Social Engagement through Science and Ethics: Responding to Climate Change (BRAID seminar, with Maxine Davis and TBD HPS faculty)
Spring 2013: LB 492-007, The Nuclear Age
Fall 2012: LB 273 (Lyman Briggs Physics I - Mechanics)
Spring 2012: LB 290C, Biology/Physics/HPS BRAID seminar (w/Doug Luckie and Catherine Westfall)
Spring 2012: LB 274 (Lyman Briggs Physics II - E & M, Modern physics)
Fall 2011-Spring 2012: I was a Lilly Teaching Fellow during the 2011-12 academic year. Click this link for a copy of my fellowship poster.
Fall 2011: LB 273 (Lyman Briggs Physics I - Mechanics)
Spring 2011: LB 492, The Dawn of the Nuclear Age
Fall 2010: LB 273 (Lyman Briggs Physics I - Mechanics)
Spring 2010: LB 272 (Lyman Briggs Physics II - E & M, Modern physics)
Fall 2009: LB 271 (Lyman Briggs Physics I - Mechanics)
Spring 2009: LB 272 (Lyman Briggs Physics II - E & M, Modern physics)
Fall 2008: LB 271L (Physics Laboratory I - Mechanics)
Every semester: AST 410 (Senior thesis)

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