X-DBER hosts more than 550 people from 11 countries
More than 550 people registered to attend the X-DBER 2021 conference, hosted virtually March 1-3 by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln discipline-based education research (DBER) community. Participants came from 11 countries and 41 states in the U.S. The conference provided participants from across STEM disciplines (e.g., biology, chemistry, engineering, geoscience, math, physics) with the opportunity to discuss how theories, methods, and applications of education research cross disciplinary boundaries.
The conference opened with a welcome address from Chancellor Ronnie Green, followed by five themed sessions led by keynote speakers from across disciplines.
• Integrating disciplinary practices (Dr. Nicole Becker, University of Iowa, chemistry)
• Learning and cognitive research (Dr. Joanne Lobato, San Diego State University, math)
• Diversity, inclusion, and equity (Dr. Alex Mejia, University of San Diego, engineering)
• Student experiences and affect (Dr. Beth Schussler, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, biology)
• Educational tools and interventions (Dr. Kathy Perkins, University of Colorado-Boulder, physics)
The five keynote speakers delivered reflections on their own research and highlighted critical areas for future investigation. Becker discussed how students reason with respect to graphical representations. Lobato explored how students can engage in vicarious learning by watching dialogue-based online videos. Mejia proposed funds of knowledge as a framework to understand participation of Latinx students in STEM programs. Schussler addressed how instructors might convey a hidden curriculum that helps students develop skills to manage course-related emotions, such as anxiety. Perkins gave an overview of new PhET simulations and considerations with respect to eliciting productive student learning behaviors. Recordings of the keynote talks can be found on the conference webpage.
Each session keynote was followed by concurrent talks and small group discussions, which allowed participants to further engage with the session themes. The concurrent talks gave brief but often powerful insights into other work being done in the field, and the subsequent discussions provided a venue for participants to consider cross-cutting findings and future directions. The conference culminated with a virtual poster session featuring more than 150 posters. Altogether, the conference provided a timely venue for the DBER community to consider how cross-disciplinary research can address critical questions in STEM education.
The X-DBER 2021 organizing committee consisted of Nebraska faculty Brian Couch (Biological Sciences), Joe Dauer (Natural Resources), Tomas Helikar (Biochemistry), Alena Moon (Chemistry), and Grace Panther (Civil and Environmental Engineering). The conference was further supported by Lindsay Augustyn, Stephanie Vendetti, Andy Frederick, Wendy Smith, and Jim Lewis from the Center for Science, Mathematics, and Computer Education (CSMCE), with additional financial support from the NebraskaSCIENCE Program of Excellence.