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Workgroup on Educational Science & Technology

About the group

We are a group of students, instructors, and staff at Caltech seeking to improve teaching and learning by discussing and developing new technologies, and designing and conducting real-world experiments. Possible long-term goals include extending MOOCs, improving student engagement, teaching research skills, accelerating learning of interdisciplinary subjects, and encouraging collaborative research. We wish to impact learning at all levels, from the high school level to the graduate level to the professional researcher level.

The format will be that of an academic group meeting, combining “journal club” style talks, presentations on current projects, and discussions of research ideas and proposals. Participants are encouraged to pool their resources and efforts to stimulate the further development of ambitious and impactful educational initiatives at Caltech.


  • Mitch Aiken (Associate Director of Educational Outreach, CTLO)
  • Jessica Arlett (Staff Scientist, Condensed Matter Physics)
  • Eric Bax (Director, Marketplace Design, Yahoo; undergrad Caltech alum)
  • Kelsey Boyle (Director, Caltech Project for Effective Teaching, Graduate Student in Chemistry)
  • Justin Bois (Biology and Biological Engineering Instructor)
  • Julia Chamberlain (Research Associate, PhET Interactive Simulations)
  • Gail Clement (Head of Research Services, Caltech Library Systems)
  • Alex Cunha (Computational Scientist, Center for Advanced Computing Research)
  • Tejas Deshpande (Graduate Student in Condensed Matter Physics)
  • Will Dickson (Co-founder & Vice President; IO Rodeo -- open source classroom instruments; postdoc Caltech alum)
  • George Djorgovski (Professor of Astronomy)
  • Holly Ferguson (Program Manager, CTLO).
  • Lila Forte (Graduate Student in Chemistry).
  • Luis Goncalves (Caltech graduate alum; currently VP of R&D at Evolution Robotics)
  • Bruce Hay (Professor of Biology)
  • Bassam Helou (Graduate Student in Applied Physics)
  • Dave Herman (Physics Teacher, Pasadena Unified School District)
  • Cassandra Horii (Director, Center for Teaching, Learning & Outreach)
  • Joanne Long (Co-founder & President; IO Rodeo -- open source classroom instruments)
  • James Maloney (Program Manager, CTLO; Coordinator, Caltech Classroom Connection & Summer Research Connection)
  • Leslie Maxfield (Director, Academic Media Technologies)
  • Jeff Mendez (Chemistry Laboratory Instructor)
  • Evan Miyazono (Graduate Student in Applied Physics)
  • Mamikon Mnatsakanian (Project Associate, Project Mathematics)
  • Emily Moreno (General Chemistry Course Coordinator)
  • Heidi Rusina (Programs and Communications Associate, Resnick Sustainability Group)
  • Julius Su (Program Manager, CTLO; co-developer/SKIES Learning App)
  • Michael Vicic (Chemical Engineering Laboratory Instructor)
  • Jenn Weaver (Assistant Director of Instructional Practice and Technology, CTLO)
  • Donna Wrublewski (Chemistry Librarian and Information Specialist)


Date Speaker Topic
12/5/16 Discussion/Horii facilitating WEST planning for Winter/Spring 2017
11/21/16 Rangel Guest speaker: new platform for online/flipped classroom learning.
6/21/16 Aiken/Vicic Engineering outreach with Muir High School
5/17/16 Molinaro, Marco
(U.C. Davis)


(Public talk - IST lunch bunch - ANNENBERG 105)

4/6/16 Authorea talk

Open Science, data-driven scholarship, the future of academic publishing

3/23/16 Bois Jupyter for interactive visualization and computation
3/16/16 Moreno Technology and ESL students
3/2/16 Maxfield (Open mic) Electronic portfolios
2/17/16 Cunha Citizen science
2/3/16 Victor, Bret (Public seminar). "Words are Obselete": Explaining and understanding in the dynamic medium.
1/20/16 Su Theories of learning and relevant technologies
1/6/16 Mendez Brain development from K-20
12/16/15 Wrublewski TechLAB at the Caltech Library
12/2/15 Vicic How to teach design
11/11/15 Maloney Multimodal communication
10/28/15 Horii How learning works
10/9/15 Su WEST year 3: Introduction and brainstorming session
6/1/15 Badizadegan (Open mic) Evaluating courses 
5/26/15  Aiken  Skills gained by performing outreach 
5/4/15  Mendez/Wrublewski  (Open mic) Open-source textbooks 
4/20/15  Helou Dynamic figures and documents 
4/6/15  Tejas Deshpande (Open mic) Media to efficiently transfer knowledge 
3/23/15  Badizadegan  Cancelled -- Teaching optimization in design 
3/9/15  Maloney  (Open mic) Linking lessons between classrooms 
2/23/15  Ferguson Educational research special topic 
2/9/15  Cunha/Arlett  Cancelled -- outreach activities and citizen science 
1/26/15  Su The role of repetition in learning
1/12/15  Maxfield/Horii  (Open mic) Desired features for learning management systems 
1/5/15 Chamberlain/Mendez  Application of educational theory to practice
12/1/14  Mendez (Open mic) Current & proposed EdTech at different schools
11/10/14 Vicic Evaluating student presentations
10/27/14 Everyone

WEST year 2: Introduction and brainstorming session.

10/6/14 Harvey Seifter

(Public seminar) Art, Science, and Learning: Innovation at the intersection.

7/22/14 Spyridon Michalakis

(Public seminar) Teaching quantum mechanics with Minecraft and comics

6/19/14 Everyone

End-of-year WEST party: recap and plans for the future

5/5/14 Leslie Maxfield

(Public seminar) Experiences from two years of MOOCs at Caltech

4/28/14 Jeff Mendez

Tablets in the laboratory: electronic notebooks, collaborative learning, and mobile sensors.

4/14/14 Kara Ganley

(Guest speaker) Engineering a science curriculum

3/31/14 Horii & Su (Public seminar) A study of tablet-mediated student learning in two STEM courses
3/24/14 Maloney & Su Progress on community science
3/10/14 Evan Miyazono A proposal to crowdsource summarization of research as semantic data
2/24/14 Julia Chamberlain (Public seminar) PhET virtual labs and beyond!
2/11/14 Mamikon Mnatsakanian  (Tuesday) Visual calculus
1/28/14 Ryan Trainor (Tuesday) Experiences teaching in a MOOC and thoughts toward the future
1/6/14 Su & Helou Future of WEST
12/16/13 Mitch Aiken Undergraduate activities with particular technologies
12/2/13 Alex Cunha Citizen science (with Caltech examples)
11/18/13 Cassandra Horii Fundamental principles of good education; education experimental methodologies and human subjects
11/4/13 Bassam Helou Information storage and knowledge representation
10/21/13 Michael Vicic (1) Open-ended design courses: personalization, customization, and adaptation; and (2) Electronic notebooks in lab courses: an experiment
10/7/13 James Maloney Bringing Caltech science to K-12 students and teachers
9/23/13 Julius Su Mobile apps and collaborative learning
9/9/13 Jeff Mendez How to teach science through open-ended labs 
8/27/13 Donna Wrublewski Teaching research methods and the role of information literacy
8/13/13 All Introduction and brainstorming session
8/6/13 Mitch Aiken Presession tour of Innoworks

Private wiki

Notes and experiments are hosted on a private wiki