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About Steven Brewer

As a teacher, my goal is to create an environment that empowers students to engage in open-ended inquiry that builds upon their own prior knowledge. I design activities that encourage students to explore their own understandings and identify for themselves where more learning is needed. In all of my classes, the focus is on fostering student activity that will engender meaningful learning aligned with the Biology Department Learning Goals.
Currently, I have a release from teaching, but in the past have taught Writing in Biology, Organisms: Diversity and Interactions, and Information Technology in Biology Education. I hope to develop a new course called "Computing in Biology" when I return to teaching.
My goals as Director of the Biology Computer Resource Center (BCRC) are to: (a) serve as an advocate for improving undergraduate education, (b) develop and provide expertise for the implementation of instructional technology in biology, and (c) increase the scope and utility of the BCRC. Toward these ends, I aim to work closely with the faculty of the Biology Department and serve as a liaison between the department and broader science education and instructional technology initiatives both within the University and beyond.
I pursue a broad range of instructional technology development projects. I seek to create problem-solving environments that allow teachers and students to collaboratively solve open-ended effects-to-causes problems. Recent projects have involved using a web interface to a database that allow students in large courses to aggregate data and download results in a spreadsheet. Each group of students gathers only a little data, yet can work with the entire data set gathered by 600 or 700 students. I also design and create simulations and problem-solving environments that couple a model with a set of tools for analysis.

Positions

Present Director, Biology Computer Resource Center, University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Present Senior Lecturer, Department of Biology, College of Natural Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Contact Information

362 Morrill IV South
639 North Pleasant Street
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003
Tel: 413-545-2272

Email:


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